As we ring out the old and ring in the new this week, there’s only a trickle of releases coming your way Tuesday. Topping the list is:
“Love, Marilyn” (2013), a lovingly made documentary by Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus that is an intimate and personal portrait of Marilyn Monroe, based on the book of Monroe’s recently discovered personal papers and journals, “Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters” (edited by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment). The film provides a poignant, illuminating and revealing profile of the iconic artist and sex symbol via dramatic readings of her own words. The film explores the unknown side of Monroe and challenges the steadfast misperception of Marilyn as a dumb blonde. Bringing her words to a contemporary audience are F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Jack Huston, Stephen Lang, Lindsay Lohan, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Platt, David Strathaim, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Broadcast on HBO in June, 2012. $29.95 from Docurama — and highly recommended. Also this week is “Don Jon” (2013), a very slight romantic comedy about a ladies man whose only goals in life are pumping up his body and pumping up his sex life — until he meets the woman who wants to conquer him. The “been there, done that” sex comedy stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who also directed), Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly and Brie Larson. From Fox, who failed to provide advance screeners.
From TV to DVD:
“Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume 1” is a three-disc set with six made-for-TV movies that originally aired 1985-97: “Perry Mason Returns,” “The Case of the Notorious Nun,” “The Case of the Shooting Star,” “The Case of the Lost Love,” “The Case of the Sinister Spirit” and “The Case of the Murdered Madam.” $58.99 (exclusively at Amazon) from CBS/Paramount … “Wolfblood: Season 1” (2012) is a two-disc set with 13 episodes of the Disney Channel series about a teenage girl who, along with her parents, are Wolfbloods, descendants of a centuries old breed of people who turn into wolves — not werewolves — during a full moon. $19.95 from New Video Group.
Buzzin’ the ‘B’s:
“Last Love” (2013) stars Michael Caine, Clemence Poesy, Justin Kirk, Gillian Anderson and Jane Alexander in a poignant look at the life-changing connection between a retired and widowed American philosophy professor — who can’t get over the death of his wife — and a young Parisian woman, a free-spirited young dance instructor also struggling to heal the wounds of her troubled past. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment … “Sanitarium” (2013), starring Malcolm McDowell, Lou Diamond Phillips, John Glover, Robert Englund, David Mazouz and Lacey Chabert, consists of three chilling tales of unspeakable terror behind the walls of a Sanitarium where Dr. Stenson holds dominion over the inmates of a most unusual asylum. From Image Entertainment … “Zombie Hamlet” (2012), starring Travis Wester, Jason Mewes, Shelley Long, Vanessa Lee Evigan, John Amos and June Lockhart, was inspired by an actual incident. Desperate filmmaker Osric Taylor dreams of making his version of “Hamlet” set during the civil war but when production funding dries up, he agrees to take southern matron Hester Beauchamps offer to fund the film if he throws some zombies in it to make their money back. But when Hester dies in mid-shoot, Osric dresses up as Hester to cash the last check and awakens the suspicions of both the local police and an ambitious local news reporter.From Level 33 Entertainment … In the late 1800s, a fanatical religious leader, a renegade Sheriff, and a former prostitute collide in a blood triangle on the rugged plains of the New Mexico Territory in “Sweetwater” (2013), starring January Jones, Jason Isaacs and Ed Harris.On DVD and Blu-ray from Arc Entertainment … A deaf woman who resurrects the ghost of a murdered young woman is forced by the spirit to come face-to-face with a serial killer who turns his female victims into marionette dolls in “Cassadaga” (2011), starring Kevin Alejandro, Kelen Coleman, Louise Fletcher, Rus Blackwell, Hank Stone, J LaRose and Amy LoCicero. From Archstone Distribution … When Britain declares war against Germany, a young South African pilot leaves his pregnant fiance behind and volunteers to serve in the British Royal Air Force. But when a combat mission goes awry, a crash landing in enemy territory leaves him and his surviving crew fighting to find their way back to the Allied lines in “Angel of the Skies” (2013 — South Africa), starring Nicholas van der Bijl, Adam Boys, Lillie Claire and Andre Frauenstein. From Entertainment One … A young woman and her estranged husband become entangled with a horrifying cult and find themselves swept into a world of kidnapping, violence and satanic rituals in “Ritual” (2013), starring Lisa Summerscales, Dean Cates, Brian Lally, Larry Fessenden and Derek Phillips. From After Dark Films/Lionsgate … In “Shaolin Warrior” (2011 — China), a young man looking to escape a life of crime is denied acceptance as a warrior of the Shaolin Temple and instead takes a job as a groundskeeper, where he hones his skill and eventually must defend the temple alone against an invading army. From Lionsgate.
On the Indie Front:
“CBGB” (2013) is an ensemble drama that looks at New York’s dynamic punk rock scene through the lens of the ground-breaking Lower East Side club started by eccentric Hilly Kristal in 1973 originally as a home for “country, bluegrass and blues” (thus the club’s name) and which showcased cutting-edge bands through its closing in 2006 such as Talking Heads, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie, The Dead Boys, Bad Brains, Green Day, Soul Asylum, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Everclear, George Thorogood, The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, The Black Crowes, The Flaming Lips, The Goo Goo Dolls, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The B-52s, The Runaways, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Tool and The Wallflowers. With a great cast: Alan Rickman, Malin Akerman, Justin Bartha, Richard de Klerk, Johnny Galecki, Ashley Greene, Rupert Grint, Taylor Hawkins, Stana Katic, Donal Logue. On DVD and Blu-ray from XLrator Media.
For the Family:
Happy New Year One and All!!