MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK
FAREWELL, MY LOVELY (Timeless Media Group): Director Dick Richards’ 1975 adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s novel – previously filmed (brilliantly) as 1944’s Murder, My Sweet – is a stellar showcase for Robert Mitchum, perfectly cast as world-weary private detective Philip Marlowe. Some purists complained he was too old, but like the character, Mitchum has a timeless appeal.
Marlowe is hired by hulking ex-con Moose Malloy (former boxer Jack O’Halloran, in his screen debut) to locate his missing squeeze, “Velma.” Marlowe’s investigation soon leads him down a twisted path of corruption, deception and, of course, murder – all the ingredients that made Raymond Chandler great – as he encounters a veritable rogues’ gallery of shady characters: Charlotte Rampling (in full femme fatale mode), Harry Dean Stanton, John Ireland, Anthony Zerbe, Joe Spinell, Walter McGinn, young Sylvester Stallone and Sylvia Miles, who scored a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination as boozy floozy Jessie Florian.
The ’40s film-noir ambiance is captured marvelously in John A. Alonzo’s cinematography, Dean Tavoularis’ production design and David Shire’s score. All told, a fabulous Farewell. The DVD retails for $19.97. Rated R. ***’½
12 ROUNDS 3: LOCKDOWN (WWE Studios/LionsGate): Pro wrestler Dean Ambrose follows in the footsteps of John Cena and Randy Orton for this in-name-only sequel, as a cop battling baddies (including Roger Cross and Lochlyn Munro) within his own ranks. As junk movies go, this borrows from the Die Hard playbook but kills time easily enough. Rated R. **
“THE 2015 WORLD SERIES” (MLB Productions/LionsGate): The title tells all as Kansas City native Paul Rudd narrates the official Major League Baseball documentary about the Royals’ 4-1 World Series triumph over the New York Mets, available on DVD ($29.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.98 retail). MLB/LionsGate has also released “Kansas City Royals 2015 World Series Collector’s Edition,” including all five network broadcasts and clinching playoff games (plus bonus features) on DVD ($59.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($69.99 retail).
ASSASSINATION (Well Go USA Entertainment): Filmmaker Dong-hoon Choi reunites with Thieves leads Jung Gianna and Jung-jae Lee for this historical adventure about rebels ordered to assassinate an enemy commander – only to discover a traitor in their midst. In Korean, Japanese, Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles, available on DVD ($24.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.98 retail).
“BROAD CITY”: SEASON 2 (Comedy Central Home Entertainment/Paramount): Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are back on the prowl in all 10 episodes from the 2015 season of the Comedy Central series created by Jacobson and Glazer and executive produced by Amy Poehler, with guest stars Seth Rogen, Patricia Clarkson, Bob Balaban, Janeane Garofalo, David Wain and others. The DVD, replete with bonus features, retails for $26.99.
THE COLOR OF NOISE (MVD Entertainment Group): A special-edition DVD/Blu-ray combo ($19.95 retail) of Eric Robel’s documentary feature tracing the career of the Artist Haze XXL (Tom Hazelmeyer) and the history of his controversial grunge music label, Amphetamine Reptile Records during its ’80s and ’90s heyday.
“DOC MARTIN”: SERIES 7 (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): Martin Clunes reprises his role as the quirky, acerbic physician in all eight episodes from the 2015 season of the popular, award-winning British comedy series, available on DVD and Blu-ray (each $39.99 retail). RLJ/Acorn is also releasing the self-explanatory DVD collection “Doc Martin: Six Surly Seasons + The Movies” ($124.99 retail), including all 46 episodes from the first six seasons and two TV movies.
FURIOUS 7 (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): The gang’s all here – producer producer Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Elsa Pataky, Jordana Brewster, Lucas Black and the late Paul Walker (in his final film) – for yet another mindless, money-spinning bout of motorized mayhem, joined by Jason Statham (the bad guy), Kurt Russell, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou and Ronda Rousey, available on DVD ($29.98 retail) and DVD/Blu-ray combo ($34.98 retail). Rated PG-13. *’½
THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS MOVIE (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): Yes, indeed – the collector’s edition Blu-ray ($34.93 retail) of the PG-rated 1987 fantasy/comedy (?) based on the popular Topps trading-card series, the last feature directed by Rod Amateu and the last feature starring Anthony Newley. This critical and financial dud somehow found a following on cable. ‘½
“GETTING ON”: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (HBO) Based on a popular BBC series, this award-winning HBO comedy series follows the harried staff of the geriatric unit of a hospital in Long Beach, Cal., featuring an ensemble cast including Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Mel Rodriguez and Niecy Nash (Emmy nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series). All six episodes from the 2015 season (plus bonus features) are available on DVD ($29.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($39.98 retail).
GIL SCOTT-HERON – BLACK WAX (Mug-Shot Productions/MVD Entertainment Group): A digitally-restored Blu-ray ($19.95 retail) of producer/director Robert Mugge’s 1982 concert documentary featuring poet, performer and political firebrand Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011) and his 10-piece Midnight Band in Washington, DC at the now-defunct Wax Museum Nightclub.
THE GOLDEN CANE WARRIOR (Well Go USA Entertainment): Writer/director Ifa Isfansya’s Indonesian-language martial-arts extravaganza (originally titled Pendakar Tongkat Emas) stars Christine Hakim in the title role, whose students vie to succeed her, leading to betrayal and bloodshed students vie to be her successor, available on DVD ($24.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.98 retail).
JERUSALEM (FilmBuff/MPI Media Group): Benedict Cumberbatch narrates this award-winning National Geographic 3-D IMAX documentary that examines the history and landscape of Jerusalem, and marked the final feature produced by Jake Eberts, who died in 2012. The DVD retails for $24.98, the 3-D Blu-ray for $29.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $34.98.
JE T’AIME, JE T’AIME (Kino Classics/Kino Lorber): A special edition of Alain Resnais’ award-winning 1968 romantic fantasy, with Claude Rich a suicidal everyman who participates in a time-travel experiment that has him bouncing through past events in his life in random, sometimes rapid, fashion. In French with English subtitles The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95. Both include special features.
THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER (Kino Lorber): Writer/director Nadav Lepid’s award-winning drama (originally titled Haganenet) stars Sarit Larry in the title role, who realizes student Avo Shnaidman (in his screen debut) is a poetry prodigy. In Hebrew with English subtitiles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.95 retail).
“MAUDE”: THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON (Shout! Factory): Beatrice Arthur returns in the title role of Tuckahoe, N.Y.’s favorite feminist, in all 23 episodes from the 1974-’75 season of the acclaimed, sometimes controversial CBS sitcom spun off from “All in the Family,” available on DVD ($26.99 retail).
“THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL” (Time Life): A self-explanatory, 11-DVD collection ($99.95 retail) of almost 10 hours of live music and comedy performances (plus bonus features) from the long-running (1972-’81), late-night NBC series, featuring appearances by AC/DC, Aerosmith, ELO, The Kinks, Van Morrison, Steve Martin, Richard Pryor, George Carlin and many others.
MISSISSIPPI GRIND (LionsGate): Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn team up as gamblers seeking the big score in writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s R-rated drama, available on DVD ($19.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($24.98 retail).
NORTHERN LIMIT LINE (Well Go USA Entertainment): Director Kim Hak-soon’s fact-based feature debut (originally titled NLL Yeonpyeong Haejeon) dramatizes what is called the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong, when the North Korean navy launched a surprise assault on a South Korean battleship in 2002. In Korean with English subtitles. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.
PAY THE GHOST (RLJ Entertainment): Nicolas Cage (comparatively restrained) plays a college professor whose young son (Jack Fulton) mysteriously vanishes on Halloween. This choppy adaptation of Tim Lebron’s novella has an interesting concept and some creepy moments but simply doesn’t add up. *’½
REQUIESCANT (Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group): Carlo Lizzani’s 1967 spaghetti Western (also known as Kill and Pray and Let Them Rest) pits young gunslinger Lou Castel against dandified villain Mark Damon and his minions, while filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini essays a rare acting role as a revolutionary priest. The special-edition DVD/Blu-ray combo retails for $39.95.
“SGT. BILKO/THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW”: THE FINAL SEASON (Shout! Factory): Phil Silvers last go-’round as the ever-scheming Master Sgt. Ernest G. Bilko in all 36 episodes from the 1958-’59 season of the CBS sitcom created by Nat Hiken, which earned five Emmy nominations: Best Comedy Series, Silvers (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series), Paul Ford and Maurice Gosfield (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series). The five-DVD collection retails for $34.99.
THE SHANGHAI STORY (Olive Films): Producer/director Frank Lloyd’s penultimate film, this 1954 adaptation of Lester Yard’s Cold War novel sees Western expatriates (including Edmond O’Brien, Ruth Roman and Richard Jaeckel) held captive in Red China. The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95.
THE SQUEEZE (Arc Entertainment): Taron Lexton’s sun-dappled cinematography distinguishes writer/director Terry Jastrow’s feature debut, a light-hearted melodrama with faith-based elements starring co-producer Jeremy Sumpter as a golfer who finds trouble when he teams with slick gambler Christopher McDonald (at his smarmy best). Katherine LaNasa, David Andrews, Jillian Murray, Jason Dohring and associate producer Michael Nouri round out a relaxed cast. Jastrow’s real-life wife, actress Anne Archer, was a producer. Rated PG-13. **’½
STUNG (IFC Midnight/Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): A high-society garden party turns grisly for Matt O’Leary, Jessica Cook, Clifton Collins Jr. and Lance Henriksen when mutated wasps crash the party in director Benni Diaz’s campy salute to ’50s monster movies, available on DVD ($14.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.99 retail), both with special features.
“TANKED”: SEASON 2 (Cinedigm): A two-DVD collection ($29.93 retail) of all eight episodes from the 2012 season of the Animal Planet reality series following brothers-in-law Wayde King and Brett Ratmer, owners of the USA’s largest aquarium-manufacturing business.
“TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES”: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS (Nickelodeon/Paramount): A self-explanatory eight-DVD collection ($42.99 retail) of all 52 episodes from the 2012-’13 and 2013-’14 seasons of the award-winning animated fantasy series, the latest incarnation of those “Heroes on a Half-Shell” created by Kevin Eastman and Steve Laird. In 2014, the series earned an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Animated Program. Nickelodeon/Paramount has also released the self-explanatory “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Cowabunga Christmas!, a DVD collection ($9.99 retail) of three holiday episodes, and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Revenge!,” a two-DVD collection ($19.99 retail) of 12 episodes from the 2014-’15 season.
VELOCIRAPTOR (TLA Releasing): Writer/director Chucho E. Quintero’s award-winning, gay-themed, Spanish-language fantasy follows Pablo Mezz and Carlos Hendrick Huber as friends exploring their relationship on the eve of the apocalypse. The DVD retails for $24.99.
“WALKER, TEXAS RANGER”: 4 MOVIE COLLECTION (CBS DVD/Paramount): Chuck Norris lays down the law in this self-explanatory “quadruple feature” of feature-length TV movies spun off from the long-running (1993-2001) CBS action series: Warzone, Flashback, Standoff and Whitewater.
WAR ROOM (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Priscilla C. Shirer (in her screen debut) and T.C. Stallings star in this PG-rated, faith-based box-office hit as a couple trying to save their marriage, now available on DVD ($30.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.99 retail).
WHERE CHILDREN PLAY (RLJ Entertainment): Teyonah Parris toplines writer/producer/director Leila Djansi’s drama as a woman forced to confront her past following her mother’s death. The DVD retails for $27.97.
(Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2016, Mark Burger) HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”email@example.com