Archives

[VIDEO VAULT]

by Mark Burger

MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT

DVD PICK OF THE WEEK

DILLINGER (Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group): Screenwriter John Milius made a solid directorial debut with this tough, fast-paced 1973 Depression-era gangster saga starring Warren Oates (in one of his rare big-screen leads) as Public Enemy #1.

There are some liberties taken with the facts, but much of the film rings true. The period detail is well-captured, the action vividly staged (and not glamorized), and an excellent cast includes Ben Johnson as Dillinger’s obsessed pursuer, FBI agent Melvin Purvis; Michelle Phillips (in an impressive screen debut) as Dillinger’s devoted moll, Billie Frechette; Cloris Leachman as Anna Sage, the notorious “Lady in Red;” and Dillinger’s cohorts are played by ace character actors Harry Dean Stanton, John P. Ryan, Geoffrey Lewis, Steve Kanaly and Frank McRae, while Richard Dreyfuss steals a few scenes as the bratty “Baby Face” Nelson.

The special-edition DVD/Blu-ray ($39.95 retail) includes audio commentary, retrospective interviews and more. Rated R. ***

ALSO AVAILABLE

“THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES”: THE OFFICIAL FIRST SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount): Forget those low-rent, public-domain compilations, this DVD collection ($29.99 retail) includes all 36 episodes (digitally remastered, no less) from the inaugural 1962-’63 season of the long-running, award-winning CBS sitcom, created by Paul Henning, which saw the backwoods Clampett clan (Buddy Ebsen, Donna Douglas, Max Baer Jr., and Irene Ryan as Granny) take Southern California by storm after striking oil. Four Emmy nominations including what would now be classified as Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing and Writing for a Comedy Series, and Ryan as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

BLOODY WEDNESDAY (Film Chest Media Group): Producer/director Mark G. Gilhuis’ one and only feature, this tacky, low-budget 1987 shocker casts Raymond Elmendorf as a misfit losing his sanity in Southern California, culminating in a bloody murder spree, reportedly inspired by the 1984 San Ysidro slaughter at a McDonald’s restaurant. Hollywood veteran Philip Yordan is credited with story and screenplay and also produced. *

THE CLUB (Music Box Films Home Entertainment): Pablo Larrain’s timely, award-winning drama is set in a small seaside town where a group of disgraced clergymen reside in seclusion, trying to purge or atone for past transgressions. In Spanish with English subtitles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.95 retail).

CONVICT (Indie Rights/MVD Entertainment Group): Leading man George Basha wrote, produced and co-directed – with associate producer/co-star David Field – this predictable but well-acted prison melodrama about a combat veteran (Basha) whose incarceration is complicated by a corrupt warden (Field) who’s been paid to break him by any means necessary. **½

DIE FIGHTING (ZTEAM/MVD Entertainment Group): Writer/director/editor Fabien Garcia’s award-winning feature debut is a martial-arts slug-fest that sees the real-life Z-Team (Garcia, producer Laurent Buson, Jess Allen and newcomer Didier Buson) whose Hollywood aspirations are interrupted by a mysterious “Director” (Dave Vescio) who forces them to compete in his own “reality” production, available on DVD ($24.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.95 retail).

DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON (Magnolia Home Entertainment): The title tells all in Douglas Tirola’s insightful and very entertaining feature documentary tracing the history and legacy of the National Lampoon, with a star-studded line-up of interviewees including Chevy Chase, Judd Apatow, Tony Hendra, John Landis, Tim Matheson, John Goodman, Billy Bob Thornton, and many others weighing in. The DVD retails for $26.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98. ***

“A FRENCH VILLAGE: 1942” – SEASON THREE (MHz Networks): A four-DVD collection ($39.95 retail) of all 12 episodes from the 2010-’11 season of the acclaimed French-language series (originally titled Un village Francais) dramatizing the impact of the German occupation on a small town on the French/Swiss border during World War II.

HOLIDAY (TLA Releasing): Set against the backdrop of political tumult in Ecuador, writer/director Diego Araujo’s gay-themed romantic drama (originally titled Feriado) stars Juan Manuel Arregui (iin his feature debut) as a teenager who develops an attraction for a neighbor (newcomer Diego Andres Paredes) who saved him from a beating. In Spanish with English subtitles, available on DVD ($19.95 retail).

KINGDOM OF BLOOD (LionsGate): Gordon Chan’s R-rated martial-arts saga (originally titled Si da ming bu 2 and also known as Lawless Kingdom) involves members of the now-disbanded Divine Constabulary, reunited in a common quest to rescue the Emperor. In Mandarin with English subtitles, available on DVD ($19.98 retail).

THE LADY IN THE CAR WITH GLASSES AND A GUN (Magnolia Home Entertainment): Freya Mavor portrays the title role in this French-language thriller (originally titled La Dame dans l’auto avec des lunettes et un fusil) based on Sebastien Japrisot’s novel, as a woman who steals vintage blue Thunderbird only to discover a dead body in the trunk. (Don’t you hate when that happens?) An earlier version in 1970 with Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar marked director Anatole Litvak’s swan song. The DVD retails for $26.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98.

LIKE YOU MEAN IT (Breaking Glass Pictures): Writer/producer Philipp Karner makes his directorial debut and stars in this award-winning drama as a disillusioned actor whose self-destructive streak threatens his relationship with boyfriend Denver Milford. The DVD retails for $21.99.

THE LITTLE DEATH (Magnolia Home Entertainment): Actor Josh Lawson makes his feature debut as writer/director with this award-winning ensemble comedy/drama about five couples who indulge their sexual fetishes but are unprepared for the inevitable consequences. The DVD retails for $26.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98 – both replete with bonus features.

RHYTHM ‘N’ BAYOUS: A ROAP MAP TO LOUISIANA MUSIC (Mug-Shot Productions/MVD Entertainment Group): The title tells all in filmmaker Robert Mugge’s expansive and critically acclaimed 1980 music documentary, divided into three chapters: “Another Country: Northern Louisiana,” “Spirits in the Night: New Orleans & Baton Rouge” and “Music in the Air: Southwestern Louisiana.” The DVD retails for $19.95.

RIDE ALONG 2 (Universal): More (and less) of the same from producer Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, taking their mismatched cop/buddy routine to Miami for this flimsy follow-up to the equally flimsy 2014 box-office hit, available on DVD ($29.98 retail) and DVD/Blu-ray combo ($34.98 retail), both replete with special features — for those who care. Rated PG-13. *

ROAR (Olive Films): Producer Noel Marshall and then-wife Tippi Hedren produced this little-seen but legendary 1981 adventure about jungle animals run amuck, with Marshall making his debut as writer, director and co-star, and their real-life children Melanie Griffith, Jerry Marshall (who also edited) and Noel Marshall in key roles, with son Joel Marshall the production designer. A series of mishaps, including actual animal attacks and natural disasters, delayed the film by several years and upped the budget to $17 million. The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95.

SEX ED (Monarch Home Entertainment): Haley Joel Osment headlines this flaccid, one-note farce as a virginal schoolteacher charged with teaching sex-education to precocious students who know as much as he does. Osment tries, but to little avail. *

TEACHERS (Olive Films): The first half of Arthur Hiller’s 1984 comedy/drama about public education is sharp and smart, but the second half becomes more mechanical and heavy-handed. Still, the cast delivers: Nick Nolte, JoBeth Williams, Judd Hirsch, Ralph Macchio, Lee Grant, Richard Mulligan, Allen Garfield, William Schallert, Steven Hill, Royal Dano, Art Metrano, Zohra Lampert and Morgan Freeman, plus early turns by Laura Dern and Crispin Glover. Williams’ climactic strip-down is certainly memorable, but hardly credible. The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95. Rated R. ***

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE PART 2 (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): A collector’s edition two-disc Blu-ray ($34.93 retail) of Tobe Hooper’s 1986 sequel to his 1974 horror classic, with Dennis Hopper as a Texas Ranger bent on tracking down the first film’s fiends – Leatherface (Bill Johnson), Chop-Top (Bill Moseley) and Cook (returning Jim Siedow) – with local disc jockey Caroline Williams acting as bait. By taking a more satirical approach to the material, Hooper infuriated some genre fans – to say nothing of producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus at Cannon Films, who expected a straight horror film. A box-office bust that has (deservedly) found favorable reevaluation since its release — even if Hopper once said it was his worst film, which it’s not. Special features include multiple audio commentaries, retrospective interviews, deleted scenes, six-part (!) documentary and more. ***

THREE IN A BED (TLA Releasing): Writer/producer/director/co-star Lloyd Eyre-Morgan’s romantic comedy stars Brennan Reece as a gay musician whose style is cramped – and his abode filled – when neurotic sisters Coby Hamilton and Verity-May Henry move in. The DVD retails for $24.99.

“VEEP”: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (HBO): With the political season at full boil, here comes all 10 episodes from the 2015 season of the acclaimed HBO comedy series starring executive producer Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Vice President Selina Kyle, who unexpectedly ascends to the top office in the land. Winner of five Emmy Awards including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Tony Hale), Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, with four additional nominations including Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Anna Chlumsky) and Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series. Available on DVD ($26.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.98 retail).

(Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2016, Mark Burger) HYPERLINK “mailto:marksburger@yahoo.com”marksburger@yahoo.com

Share: