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by Mark Burger

video vault

DVD PICK OF THE WEEKBAD LIEUTENANT(LionsGate Home Entertainment):Harvey Keitel gives a fierce, fearlessperformance in the title role ofAbel Ferrara’s controversial, awardwinning1992 character study, newlyreissued in a special edition thatincludes director’s commentary.Keitel’s cop-gone-bad (never givena proper name, nor are the othercharacters) is a booze-soaked, bribetaking,drug-addled member of NewYork’s Finest, but he runs into a deadend — spiritually speaking — whenhe investigates the brutal rape of ayoung nun (Frankie Thorn). Throughhis bleary, disbelieving eyes, we followthe Bad Lieutenant on the longand winding road to redemptionafter experiencing a form of spiritualawakening. A pretty picture it is not,but a compelling and often bizarreone it is.Raw and ragged, the film is primarilya showcase for Keitel, whoseno-holds-barred performance istremendous. This is not a perfectfilm, but it is a resonant and shockingone — for those who can takeit. It received an NC-17 rating, andit deserved it. This is not a film foreveryone, and it’s most definitely notfor children. ***
ALSO ON DVD’ “ADAM-12”: SEASON THREE(Shout! Factory): Police officers PeteMalloy (Martin Milner) and Jim Reed(Kent McCord) again cruise the meanstreets of LA, in all 26 episodes fromthe 1970-’71 season of the popular,prime-time NBC-TV police dramacreated by executive producer JackWebb. Guest stars included TriniLopez, Margaret O’Brien, KennethTobey, Norm Crosby, Foster Brooks,Shelley Berman, Felton Perry anda young Jodie Foster. The seriesscored the only Emmy nominationof its entire run — for OutstandingAchievement in Music Composition(for the episode “Elegy for a Pig”).This four-DVD boxed set retails for$34.99.BART GOT A ROOM (AnchorBay Entertainment): A few scatteredlaughs in writer/director BrianHecker’s award-winning debut feature,with Steven Kaplan as a neuroticteenager preparing for his high-schoolprom. William H. Macy and CherylHines play his divorcing parents,and the cast also includes Jon Polito,Dinah Manoff and Jennifer Tilly, butthe film runs completely out of energyat exactly the wrong time — at theprom. Rated R. *’½COMIC LEGENDS (MPI HomeVideo): A selection of classic televisionappearances — some rarely seensince the original broadcasts — showcasingthe talents of five Americanicons of comedy: “Dick Van Dyke: InRare Form,” “Phyllis Diller: Not Just aPretty Face,” “Redd Foxx & GrouchoMarx” and “Tim Conway: TimelessComedy.” This boxed set retails for$19.98.FAST & FURIOUS (UniversalStudios Home Entertainment): Thestars of the original film — Vin Diesel(also a producer), Paul Walker, JordanaBrewster and Michelle Rodriguez— are reunited for the fourth in theinexplicably popular franchise abouthot-rodding auto thieves. As youmight expect, this focuses primarilyon spinning wheels, screeching tiresand predictable motorized mayhem.There is some visual flair, but in keepingwith the series, this is much adoabout nothing. Available as a singlediscDVD ($29.98 retail), a two-discspecial-edition DVD ($34.98 retail),or a two-disc Blu-ray ($39.98 retail).In addition, Universal is releasing aboxed set containing all four films($69.98 retail). Rated PG-13. *’½GOODBYE SOLO (LionsGate HomeEntertainment): Ramin Bahrani’saward-winning, justly acclaimedhuman drama — filmed in and aroundWinston-Salem (Bahrani’s hometown) — depicts the complicatedfriendship that develops between aSenegalese cab driver (Souleymane SySavane, in a smashing screen debut)and an embittered, mysterious old man(Red West) who hires his cab. Withoutquestion, one of the best films of 2009.Rated R. ***’½’ “THE HARDBODIES COLLECTION”(Anchor Bay Entertainment): Fans of’80s sex comedies — and you knowwho you are — will doubtless rememberthis twin bill of raunchy comedieswhich played endlessly on late-nightcable-TV: Hardbodies (1984) andits 1986 follow-up, the aptly namedHardbodies 2. Both films involvebeaches and babes, both are directedby Mark Griffiths, both are rated Rand both are available on one DVD($14.98 retail).“THE IT CROWD” — THECOMPLETE SEASON TWO (MPIHome Video): All six episodesfrom the 2007 season of the awardwinningBritish TV sitcom about themisadventures of three malcontents(Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayaodeand Katharine Parkinson) who runthe technical support division of amulti-billion dollar corporation. Thisspecial-edition DVD, which retails for$24.98, includes an audio commentary,bloopers and featurette.THE LAST HOUSE ON THELEFT (Universal Studios HomeEntertainment): Producers WesCraven and Sean S. Cunninghamrevisit their 1972 classic with thisaward-winning remake in which a pairof teenaged girls (Sara Paxton andMartha MacIsaac) fall prey to a bandof vicious thugs, who in turn wind upat the mercy of the former’s parents(Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter)when they seek shelter. Like its predecessor,this is a merciless, visceral,knee-jerk shocker — and not for thesqueamish. Craven based the originalfilm on Bergman’s The Virgin Spring(see below). Rated R (also available inan unrated version). **’½“LIONSGATE BLU-RAYS”(LionsGate Home Entertainment):Jumping aboard the Blu-ray bandwagon,LionsGate introduces the debuts ofRenny Harlin’s 1995 box-office flopCutthroat Island, starring his thenwifeGeena Davis, Matthew Modineand Frank Langella, rated PG-13;Johnny Depp and Langella in RomanPolanski’s The Ninth Gate (1999),rated R; Jean-Claude Van Damme(in a dual role) and Michael Rookerin Replicant (2001), rated R; Chaos(2005), starring Jason Statham, RyanPhillippe and Wesley Snipes, ratedR; and the dreadful 2006 shocker SeeNo Evil, starring pro wrestler Kaneand rated R. Each Blu-ray retails for$19.99.“MAD MEN” — SEASON TWO(LionsGate Home Entertainment): The“Golden Age” of Madison Avenue’sadvertising boom (the early 1960s)is dramatized in all 13 episodesfrom the 2008-‘09 season of thecritically acclaimed, award-winningAMC (American Movie Classics)series created by Matthew Weiner.Nominated for 16 Emmy Awardsincluding Outstanding Drama Series,Outstanding Lead Actor in a DramaSeries (Jon Hamm), OutstandingLead Actress in a Drama Series(Elisabeth Moss) and OutstandingSupporting Actor in a Drama Series(John Slattery). The DVD boxed setand the Blu-ray boxed set each retailfor $49.98.MERLIN AND THE BOOK OFBEASTS (Anchor Bay Entertainment):Camelot’s in ruins, so the famedwizard (James Callis) is pulled outof mothballs to save the day in thisOK fantasy that moves reasonablywell and gets some punch from LauraHarris (as the warrior Avlynn) anda good-humored Callis, who sometimessounds as if he’s doing a PetePostlethwaite impression. **“NFL RUN FOR THECHAMPIONSHIP: THE 2008 SEASONIN REVIEW” (NFL Films/WarnerHome Video): We all know how itended — with the Pittsburgh Steelerswinning their unprecedented sixthSuper Bowl championship — but thisdocumentary ($19.98 retail) providesan overview of the entire 2008 seasonfrom beginning to end… just in timefor the 2009 season.TABLE FOR THREE (Anchor BayEntertainment): Lovelorn bachelorBrandon Routh advertises for a roommateand ends up with “perfect couple”Sophia Bush and Jesse Bradford,who proceed to drive him crazy withtheir behavior and habits. Nicelyplayed, particularly by Bush andBradford as the duo from hell, but thiswannabe black comedy lacks edge.Rated R. **VAN WILDER: FRESHMAN YEAR(Paramount Home Entertainment):This prequel explores how the lotharioof Coolidge College (played here byJonathan Bennett) got to be so cool.The cast tries hard, but this grossoutcomedy falls short. Leading ladyKristin Cavallari looks great joggingin slow-motion, however. Rated R. *’½’ THE VIRGIN SPRING (The CriterionCollection): Ingmar Bergman’scritically acclaimed 1960 parableand thriller is set in 14th-centurySweden, with Max Von Sydow andBirgitta Valberg as a couple bent onavenging the murder of their youngdaughter (Birgitta Pettersson), whoget their chance when the culpritsshow up at their house seeking shelter.This was the inspiration for TheLast House on the Left (see above),and won the Academy Award as BestForeign-Language Film, with an additionalnomination for costume design.Special features include an introductionby filmmaker Ang Lee andvideo interviews with cast membersPettersson and Gunnel Lindblom. Thisspecial-edition DVD retails for $39.95.Mark Burger can be heardFriday mornings on the “TwoGuys Named Chris” radio showon Rock-92.Copyright 2009, Mark Burger !

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