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marksburger@yahoo.com

DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: JOE (LionsGate)

Acclaimed filmmaker and UNCSA School of Filmmaking graduate David Gordon Green again revisits society’s misfits, outcasts and forgotten in this well-rendered, naturalistic adaptation of Larry Brown’s Joe: A Novel.

Nicolas Cage, in a strong performance widely regarded as something of a comeback, plays the title character, a grizzled ex-con whose temper sometimes gets the best (and worst) of him. Tye Sheridan, so impressive in last year’s Mud, scores again as Gary, a lonely teenager contending with an alcoholic, abusive father (the late Gary Poulson, in his only film).

Joe and Gary are an unlikely duo — and Joe an even unlikelier father figure — yet it’s their relationship and building of trust at the heart of the often-moving, but sometimes overlong narrative.

Much as Green and screenwriter Gary Hawkins find a humanity and a dignity in these troubled characters, as well as a possible sense of hope and salvation (that sometimes proves illusory), cinematographer Tim Orr finds a beauty in the rustic, downtrodden locations. This is the underside of Americana, memorably and vividly conveyed, and tinged with inevitable tragedy. Rated R.

(For an exclusive interview with filmmaker David Gordon Green, turn to Page 37)

“AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT”:  SERIES 12 (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): David Suchet continues his unprecedented-winning 25-year run as Christie’s immortal Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot in four feature-length mysteries broadcast in the US on PBS’ “Masterpiece Mystery!” during the 2010-’11 season: Three Act Tragedy guest stars Art Malik and Jane Asher; Hallowe’en Party guest stars Zoe Wanamaker and Timothy West; the immortal Murder on the Orient Express guest stars Jessica Chastain, Toby Jones, Eileen Atkins, David Morrissey and Barbara Hershey; and The Clocks guest stars Jaime Winstone and Anna Massey. The DVD collection retails for $39.99, the Blu-ray collection for $49.99.

“BARNEY: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARNEY!” (HIT Entertainment/Lions-Gate): The purple dinosaur immortalized in the long-running (20+ years!) and award-winning PBS children’s series celebrates his birthday in this DVD compilation ($9.98 retail).

BLOOD TIES (LionsGate): Clive Owen and Billy Crudup play brothers on opposite sides of the law in 1970s’ Brooklyn in this R-rated, “Americanized” version of Jacques Maillot’s 2008 crime drama Rivals (AKA Les Liens du Sang) and based on the novel Deux Freres, Un Flic, Un Truand, adapted by James Gray and director Guillaume Canet, with an all-star cast including Marion Cotillard (Canet’s wife), Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, Lili Taylor, Griffin Dunne and James Caan. The DVD retails for $19.98, the Blu-ray for $24.98.

“DUCK DYNASTY: DUCK DAYS OF SUMMER” (LionsGate): The Robertson family returns in all 10 episodes from the 2014 season of the award-winning (and recently controversial) A&E reality series. LionsGate is also releasing the selfexplanatory “Duck Dynasty: Duck Days of Summer” ($9.98 retail), which follows the clan on a Hawaiian excursion.

ENEMY (LionsGate): Franz Kafka meets David Lynch in Denis Villeneuve’s award-winning adaptation of Jose Saramago’s novel, with Jake Gyllenhaal in a dual role as a professor and an actor who’s his exact double. Very weird and laden with obscure symbolism, but Gyllenhaal is first-rate. Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon and (briefly) Isabella Rossellini lend support. Rated R.

“LAVERNE & SHIRLEY”: THE EIGHTH AND FINAL SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount): The final go-’round for Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, in all 22 episodes from the 1982-’83 season of the popular ABC sitcom. Williams’ real-life pregnancy resulted in her being written out of later episodes. The DVD boxed set retails for $42.99.

“LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAI- RIE”: DELUXE REMASTERED EDITION (LionsGate): The title tells all in this new collection from the longrunning, award-winning NBC drama series based on the best-selling books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (played by Melissa Gilbert in the series), starring Michael Landon (also the executive producer and frequent director and writer), Karen Grassle, Melissa Sue Anderson and twins Lindsay and Sydney Greenbush. The “Season One” (all 24 episodes from the 1974-’75 season) and “Season Two” (all 22 episodes from the 1975-’76 season) boxed sets each retail for $29.98 (DVD) or $38.99 (Blu-ray).

“MOUNTAIN MEN”: SEASON 2 (LionsGate): A DVD collection ($19.98 retail) of all 16 episodes (plus bonus webisodes) from the 2013 season of the award-winning History Channel reality series following five men (Tom Oar, Rich Lewis, Eustace Conway, Marty Meierotto and Charlie Tucker) who choose to live “off the grid” and in the wilderness (including the Tarheel State’s own Blue Ridge Mountains)

“ONE DIRECTION: REACHING FOR THE STARS PART 2 – THE NEXT CHAPTER” (Inception Media Group): The title tells all in this music documentary ($12.98 retail) focusing on the popular boy band.

“SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: ROAD TO XLVIII” (NFL Films/Cinedigm): A “postseason collector’s edition” with the complete network broadcasts of the Seattle Seahawks’ victories over New Orleans and San Francisco in the playoffs, and the eventual 43-8 trouncing of Denver to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl. The DVD retails for $39.93, the Blu-ray for $49.99.

SNOWFLAKE THE WHITE GORILLA (LionsGate): Family-friendly monkey business in this PG-rated animated adventure featuring the voices of David Spade, Christopher Lloyd, Keith David, Jennette McCurdy, Ariana Grande, Elsa Pataky and newcomer Dallas Lovato. The DVD retails for $19.98.

TEEN WOLF”: SEASON 3, PART 2 (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): A DVD collection ($29.98 retail) of the remaining 12 episodes from the 2013-’14 season of the award-winning MTV horror series (loosely based on the ‘80s Michael J. Fox comedy), starring Tyler Posey as a teenager with real full moon fever.

“TERRY FATOR: LIVE IN CON- CERT” (LionsGate): Comedian, ventriloquist and “America’s Got Talent” winner Terry Fator brings his popular Las Vegas show to DVD ($14.98 retail).

“THOMAS & FRIENDS” (HIT Entertainment/LionsGate): The ever-popular Thomas the Tank Engine returns with a pair of DVD compilations of episodes from the long-running (20 years!) animated children’s series broadcast on PBS in the US: “Thomas & Friends: Railway Mischief” and “Thomas & Friends: Trouble on the Tracks” each retail for $14.98.

“THE UNIVERSE”: SEASON 7 – ANCIENT MYSTERIES SOLVED (LionsGate): The title tells all, as the popular History Channel documentary series explores the myths, mysteries and facts about the universe around us. The DVD retails for $19.98, the Blu-ray for $19.99. LionsGate has also released “The Universe in 3-D” on 3-D Blu-ray ($19.99 retail) and “The Best of ‘The Universe’: Stellar Stories” as a two-DVD collection ($14.98 retail).

WHOOPI GOLDBERG PRESENTS MOMS MABLEY (HBO Home Entertainment): Whoopi Goldberg is the writer, director, producer and executive producer of this affectionate, award-winning documentary tracing the life and career of Jackie “Moms” Mabley (1894-1975) – born Loretta Mae Aiken in Brevard, NC – a pioneer for black female comediennes, featuring interviews with Eddie Murphy, Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Robert Klein and Goldberg. Also known as Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin’ to Tell You. The footage of Moms is hilarious, there’s also her moving rendition of “Abraham, Martin and John” on Hugh Hefner’s “Playboy After Dark” (!) – but sometimes there’s too much Whoopi and not enough Moms.

MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2014, Mark Burger.

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