DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: WHITE OF THE EYE (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory)
One of cult filmmaker Donald Cammell’s few films, this highly stylized, wildly self-indulgent and little-seen 1987 adaptation of the 1983 novel Mrs. White is a one of a kind from a one of a kind.
A series of gruesome murders in Arizona piques the interest of suburban housewife Joan White (Cathy Moriarty), who begins to wonder if her 10-year marriage to handsome, strapping Paul (David Keith) isn’t as perfect as it appears … Hallucinatory, psycho-sexual undertones abound, as Joan’s emotionally scarred ex-boyfriend Mike (Alan Rosenberg) and tenacious detective Mendoza (Art Evans) are drawn into the story. Interestingly, all four principal actors might appear at first glance to be miscast – yet everyone’s in terrific form. There’s a method to Cammell’s madness, one that didn’t connect with mainstream moviegoers. White of the Eye isn’t so much ripe for rediscovery as discovery.
The DVD/Blu-ray combo ($29.99 retail) includes audio commentary, interviews and more. Rated R.
4GOT10 (Cinedigm): Amnesiac Johnny Messner awakens surrounded by dead bodies, millions in cash, and a shipment of cocaine … which explains why DEA agent Dolph Lundgren, drug kingpin Danny Trejo and corrupt sheriff Michael Pare are gunning for him. The DVD retails for $14.93, the Blu-ray for $19.97.
BESSIE (HBO): Executive producer Queen Latifah portrays blues legend Bessie Smith (1894-1937) in this biographical drama that won four Emmy Awards including Outstanding TV Movie and earned eight additional Emmy nominations including Latifah as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie, Outstanding Direction (Dee Rees) in a Mini-Series or Movie, Outstanding Supporting Actor (Michael K. Williams) and Outstanding Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique) in a Mini-Series or Movie. The DVD retails for $19.97, the Blu-ray for $24.99.
“DEUTSCHLAND 83” (Kino Lorber): A three-DVD collection ($29.95 retail) of all eight episodes from the inaugural 2015 season of the acclaimed, Germanlanguage espionage series (aired by SundanceTV) set during the ‘80s Cold War era, with Jonas Nay as an undercover agent in West Germany whose loyalties are torn between duty and freedom.
THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY (Sundance Selects/Shout! Factory): Style trumps substance in writer/director Peter Strickland’s ornate, extremely arch black comedy about the sadomasochistic bond between Sidse Babett Knudsen and Chiara D’Anna in a remote country estate. Not for all tastes, to be sure, but those expecting an explicit raunch-fest are bound to be disappointed.
DUMB IT DOWN (Moguldom Studios/ Cinedigm): Writer/director Jade Martin’s hip-hop documentary features interviews with MC Lyte, Trinidad James, T-Pain, Big Gipp of Goodie Mobb, DJ Clark Kent, and others. The DVD retails for $19.97.
ENTOURAGE THE MOVIE (Warner Home Video): Hollywood gets roasted in lukewarm fashion in this big-screen expansion of the award-winning 2004-’11 HBO series. The gang’s all here – Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jerry Ferrara, Perrey Reeves, Debi Mazar, Rex Lee, Constance Zimmer and Emmanuelle Chriqui – plus Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment and a slew of celebrity cameos, but again it’s Jeremy Piven as super-agent-turned-studio head Ari Gold who steals the show. The DVD retails for $28.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $35.99. Rated R.
“THE GLEN CAMPBELL GOODTIME HOUR CHRISTMAS SPECIALS” (Shout! Factory): The title tells all in this DVD compilation ($19.96 retail) of holiday-themed episodes from the CBS variety series (which ran 1969-’72) hosted by Glen Campbell, with guest stars Jerry Reed, Andy Griffith, Anne Murray, Cher, George Gobel, Shecky Greene and others.
“KENDRA ON TOP”: SEASON 3 (MPI Pictures): A two-DVD collection ($24.98 retail) of all 14 episodes from 2014 season of the popular WE reality series following former Playboy model Kendra Wilkinson, whose marriage to former NFL star Hank Baskett is rocked when he’s implicated in a sex scandal.
THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN (Olive Films): Producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus of Cannon Films and writer/ director Boaz Davidson reconstituted their popular Lemon Popsiscle franchise for this above-average 1982 teen sex comedy, with an attractive cast (including newcomers Lawrence Monoson, Diane Franklin and Steve Antin), terrific soundtrack, obligatory raunchiness, and an unforgettable gut-punch ending (to the strains of Quincy Jones’ “Just Once”). The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95. Rated R.
“MARTHA DAVIS + THE MOTELS: THE MOTELS LIVE AT THE WHISKY A GO GO 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL” (Vesuvio Entertainment/ AMPED/+180 RECORDS): The title tells all in this rock documentary celebrating the band (whose hits included “Suddenly Last Summer, “Mr. Grey,” “Only the Lonely,” “Closets and Bullets” and more) at its 50 th birthday bash in 2014, available on DVD ($24.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.98 retail).
MATEO (XLRator Media): Director Aaron I. Naar’s documentary examines the life and career of the title character (born Matthew Stoneman), who craved musical stardom and, after a prison stint, found belated success in Cuba as the first “gringo” mariachi singer. The DVD retails for $14.99.
“MR. WARMTH! DON RICKLES: THE ULTIMATE TV COLLECTION” (Time Life): An eight-DVD collection ($59.98 retail) including four ‘70s comedy specials (The Many Sides of Don Rickles, Don Rickles: Alive and Kicking, Mr. Warmth and Rickles) plus all 37 episodes from the 1976-’78 run of the NBC sitcom “CPO Sharkey,” in which Rickles (a Navy veteran) played the title role. Time Life has also released “The Don Rickles TV Specials” (each $12.95 retail) with Volume 1 including The Many Sides of Don Rickles and Don Rickles: Alive and Kicking and Volume 2 boasting Mr. Warmth and Rickles, as well as the individual seasons of “CPO Sharkey,” the Complete First Season and Complete Second Season each retailing for $29.95.
RESULTS (Magnolia Home Entertainment): Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders and Kevin Corrigan comprise an unlikely romantic triangle in writer/director Andrew Bujalski’s winningly offbeat comedy set against the backdrop of the fitness craze, with Anthony Michael Hall, Giovanni Ribisi, Constance Zimmer and Brooklyn Decker also on hand. Rated R.
SAN ANDREAS (Warner Home Video): The West Coast is toast thanks to a major earthquake – Paul Giamatti warned ‘em! – but heroic helicopter pilot Dwayne Johnson is on hand to save the day, as well as estranged wife Carla Gugino and daughter Alexandra Daddario. Irwin Allen used to do this sort of thing better. The special effects are the whole show. The DVD retails for $28.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $35.99, the 3-D combo pack for $44.95. Rated PG-13.
STEVE HACKETT: THE MAN, THE MUSIC (Wienerworld/MVD Entertainment Group): This self-explanatory documentary explores the life and career of guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree Steve Hackett, available on DVD ($19.95 retail).
THE TIMBER (Well Go USA Entertainment): Josh Peck and James Ransome play brothers-turned-bounty hunters in late-18 th century Yukon territory. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.
VACATION (Warner Home Video): Ed Helms and Christina Applegate hit the road – to nowhere, alas – in this ramshackle remake/reboot/sequel to National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo clocking in briefly. The DVD retails for $28.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $35.99. Warner Home Video has also released a Blu-ray combo ($19.98 retail) of 1989’s funnier National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Rated R. !
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2015, Mark Burger.