email@example.comDVD PICK OF THE WEEK: SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE (Docurama Films/New Video)
Writer/director Daniel Raim’s documentary about six of Hollywood’s most esteemed craftsmen is a total delight for film buffs and an excellent primer for those unfamiliar with these talents.The film focuses on the careers of cinematographers Haskell Wexler (who shot this film) and Conrad Hall, storyboard illustrator Harold Michelson, and art directors Robert Boyle, Henry Bumstead and Albert Nozaki. The films they’ve worked on, some in tandem, read like a Hollywood honor roll: North by Northwest, The Birds, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Sting, The Ten Commandments, In Cold Blood, Butch Cassidy and the Sun dance Kid, The War of the Worlds, Vertigo, The Graduate and many more.In their own words, augmented by clips from these films, the six men discuss the legends they’ve worked with, the careers they’ve forged, and the friendships (and rivalries) they’ve enjoyed with each other over the years. It’s a fitting testament to these legendary talents (five now deceased), whose expertise in physical production seems to have evaporated with the rise of digital technology. That doesn’t make today’s movies any better.
AMICUS: HOUSE OF HORRORS (Alpha Archive Collection): Derek Pykett wrote, produced, directed, photographed and narrates this affectionate, two-part documentary of the British-based film company, founded by Americans Milton Subotsky and Max J. Rosenberg, that tended to specialize in genre films, many of which (Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors, The Skull, Scream and Scream Again, The Land That Time Forgot) became cult favorites, featuring interviews with actors, directors, crew members and others. The second half stretches things pretty thin and Pykett’s off-camera giggling during interviews is distracting, but vintage interviews with frequent Amicus star Peter Cushing are delightful.
THE APPARITION (Warner Home Video): Dim shocker with alluring Ashley Greene and Sebastian Stan as a couple spooked by a malevolent presence. An inauspicious feature debut for writer/director Todd Lincoln… as the few who saw it theatrically can attest. Rated PG-13.
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RE- TURNS, PART 1 (DC Entertainment/Warner Home Video): Peter Weller provides the voice of the Caped Crusader in this animated adaptation of Frank Miller’s re-imagining of Bob Kane’s classic DC Comics character, also featuring the voices of Michael McKean, David Selby, Ariel Winter and Wade Williams. The DVD retails for $19.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $24.98. Rated PG-13.
“BLUE BLOODS”: THE SECOND SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment): Tom Selleck stars as the patriarch of a family of New York cops in all 22 episodes from the 2011-’12 season of the primetime CBS crime drama. The DVD boxed set retails for $64.99.
CLUB PARADISE (Alpha Home Entertain ment): Not to be confused with the Robin Williams comedy, Christy Cabanne directed this snappy 1945 programmer (also known as Sensation Hunters) starring Doris Merrick as a young girl led astray by smooth-talking cad Robert Lowery, with consequences for both. Good supporting cast: Constance Worth, Byron Foulger, Eddie Quillan, Isabell Jewell and Wanda McKay.
DINOTASIA (Flatiron Film Company/ Cinedigm Entertainment Group): Filmmaker Werner Herzog narrates this animated CGI feature that explores the legend and legacy of dinosaurs on our planet. The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $34.95.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (Alpha Home Entertainment): Director Boris Sagal’s surprisingly effective 1956 rendition of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tale, originally broadcast on NBC’s “Matinee Theatre,” with future novelist Tom Tryon tearing it up as Roderick Usher. Roger Corman’s 1960 feature film has the edge, but some scenes (and scares) are similar. Poe’s name is misspelled in the credits!
FEAR AND DESIRE (Kino Lorber): A special-edition re-release of Stanley Kubrick’s 1953 feature debut, focusing on a group of soldiers (including Frank Silvera and future filmmaker Paul Mazursky) trapped behind enemy lines. The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $34.95.
GIRL O’ MY DREAMS (Alpha Home Entertainment): Spry 1934 college comedy gets a boost from its cast of up-and-coming talent: Sterling Holloway, Arthur Lake, Eddie Nugent and Creighton Chaney (later Lon Chaney Jr.). Raymond McCarey (brother of Leo) directed Our Gang and Three Stooges shorts, and keeps things moving along in a 63-minute running time.
OBJECTIFIED (Cinedigm Entertainment Group): The Blu-ray bow ($34.95 retail) of Gary Hustwit’s 2009 documentary about design and objects, the second in his trilogy including Helvetica (2008) and last year’s Urbanized.
“THE OFFICIAL DIGIMON ADVEN- TURE”: VOLUME ONE (Flatiron Film Company/Cinedigm Entertainment Group): A three-DVD collection ($19.95 retail) of the first 21 episodes from the original 1999 season of the animated fantasy series inspired by the Digimon toy characters, wherein seven children join forces with Digimon creatures to combat evil. Flatiron/ Cinedigm is also releasing “The Official Digimon Adventure Set: The Complete First Season” ($79.95 retail), an eight-DVD boxed set boasting all 54 episodes from the first season.
“RAWHIDE”: SEASON FIVE (CBS DVD/ Paramount Home Entertainment): Eric Fleming and a young Clint Eastwood once again lead a cross-country cattle drive, in all 29 episodes from the 1962-’63 season of the popular, award-winning CBS Western series. “Volume One” contains the first 15 episodes, “Volume Two” the second 14. Each volume retails on DVD for $42.99.
“RVBX: TEN YEARS OF RED VS. BLUE” (Flatiron Film Company/Cinedigm Entertainment Group): A self-explanatory 14-disc collector’s edition of the first, full 10 seasons of the popular on-line video series based on the popular Halo video game. The DVD boxed set retails for $139.95, the Blu-ray boxed set for $179.95. Flatiron/Cinedigm is also releasing the individual collection “Red vs. Blue Season 10,” which introduced Elijah Wood as the voice of Sigma. The DVD retails for $19.95, the Blu-ray for $24.95.
SHE WANTS ME (GoDigital): Writer/ director Rob Margolies’ occasionally obvious romantic comedy about the relationship between struggling young screenwriter Josh Gad and actress girlfriend Kristen Ruhlin gets a boost from some sharp dialogue and a likable cast including Hilary Duff, Johnny Messner, Wayne Knight, Aaron Yoo, Curt Lowens, Jillian Barberie, Debra Jo Rupp, Charlie Sheen (as himself) and scene-stealer Melonie Diaz as a dippy actress.
“THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO”: SEASON FIVE (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment): Michael Douglas departs, but Karl Malden carries on with new partner Richard Hatch in 24 episodes from the 1976- ’77 (and last) season of the prime-time ABC police drama. Emmy nominations for Malden as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Jessica Walter as Outstanding Lead Actress for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series. “Volume One” contains the first 12 episodes, “Volume Two” the last 12. Each volume retails for $42.99.
THEY CALL IT MYANMAR: LIFTING THE CURTAIN (Docurama Films/Cinedigm Entertainment Group): Robert H. Lieberman’s award-winning documentary ($24.95 retail), clandestinely filmed over three years, explores Burma’s turbulent political history.
“TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON: AL- PHA” (Flatiron Film Company): A 25-minute prequel to the video game Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier following a tactical team charged with searching for — and destroying — the world’s most infamous war criminals. The DVD retails for $7.95, the DVD/ Blu-ray combo for $14.95.
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2012, Mark Burger.