video vault

by Mark Burger


DVD PICK OF THE WEEKGIVE ‘EM HELL MALONE(National Entertainment Media): There’splenty of action and attitude in this hip,flip, modern-day film noir that payshomage to the genre even while sendingit up.With his ever-present fedora andfive o’clock shadow, Thomas Jane isideally cast as hard-boiled ex-private eyeMalone, who finds himself up to his neckin trouble when he comes into possessionof a metal suitcase that contains “themeaning of love.”Everybody wants to get theirmitts on it, including a sultry femmefatale (Elsa Pataky), a burly enforcerappropriately named Boulder (VingRhames), a psychotic pyromaniac knownas “Matchstick” (Doug Hutchinson), asleazy club crooner (French Stewart),and an urbane crime boss (GregoryHarrison) who basically calls the shots— and who’s being shot. Eileen Ryan,Sean Penn’s real-life mother, has a highold time playing Malone’s mom (evenshe calls him Malone), to whom he turnswhenever he’s beaten up or shot, whichis fairly often, while Leland Orser playsan informant who comes to a particularlybad end.Directed with relish by RussellMulcahy and beautifully shot by JonathanHall, this is one of those little gems thatsomehow bypassed theatrical release.Home video is all about second chances,and Give ‘Em Hell Malone deserves tofind favor. ***ALSO ON DVD“THE BARBARA STANWYCKSHOW”: VOLUME 1 (E1 Entertainment):Barbara Stanwyck hosted and starredin this half-hour, prime-time anthologyseries broadcast on NBC-TV from1960-’61, the first 15 episodes of whichare included in this three-DVD boxedset ($39.98 retail). Many have neverbeen seen since the original broadcast.Although the series only lasted a singleseason, Stanwyck won the Emmy asOutstanding Performance by an Actressin a Series (Lead). Guest stars include LeeMarvin, Milton Berle, Ralph Bellamy andVic Morrow.“BIG LOVE”: THE COMPLETETHIRD SEASON (HBO HomeEntertainment): Life and love go on formodern-day polygamist Bill Paxton andhis three brides (Chloe Sevigny, JeanneTripplehorn and Ginnifer Goodwin) inall 10 episodes from the 2009 season ofthe critically-acclaimed, award-winningHBO series, which earned an Emmynomination as Outstanding Drama Series.This boxed set retails for $59.99.DEEP SEA BLUES (InfinityEntertainment Group): This concertdocumentary ($19.98 retail) chroniclesRoger Naber’s Legendary Rhythm &Blues Cruise — known to aficionados as“Woodstock of the Waves” — as it sets sailfrom the United States to the Caribbean,Mexico and elsewhere in January 2007.Among the many notables who performduring the voyage are the FabulousThunderbirds, Taj Mahal, BuckwheatZydeco, Joey Gilmore and many others.“GET SMART”: SEASON 5 (HBOHome Entertainment): The end of the linefor secret agents Maxwell Smart (DonAdams) and 99 (Barbara Feldon), as theytraipse into TV history in the final 26episodes from the 1969-’70 season of theclassic TV sitcom created by Mel Brooksand Buck Henry, which made the jumpfrom NBC to CBS its last year but foundsustained success in syndication. Thisboxed set retails for $24.98. HBO HomeEntertainment has also released the selfexplanatory“Get Smart: The CompleteSeries Gift Set” ($199.95 retail).GHOST CAT (North American MotionPictures): A pre-Juno Ellen Page, in anaward-winning performance, plays ateenager who, following the death of hermother, moves to a new town with herfather (Michael Ontkean) and encounterssupernatural goings-on. Originally releasedin 2003 as Mrs. Ashboro’s Cat, thisreasonably pleasant family film avoidsoverdoing the sentiment and also featuresLori Hallier and Shirley Knight (as Mrs.Ashboro). Rated PG. **’½INALIENABLE (Anchor BayEntertainment): Executive producerWalter Koenig wrote and co-stars inthis allegorical sci-fi soap opera starringRichard Hatch as a scientist who is infectedwith an alien virus and gives birth(!) to ahybrid creature that he nevertheless bondswith… leading to a court case to determinethe fate of the child. Uneven in tone, withsome incongruous detours into satire, butit has points of interest and a sci-fi-friendlycast that includes Marina Sirtis, CourtneyPeldon, Erick Avari, Richard Herd, GaryGraham, Alan Ruck and Jeff Rector. Foran exclusive interview with Walter Koenig,see Page 48. **’½“JIM JEFFERIES: I SWEAR TO GOD”(HBO Home Entertainment): The Australianborncomedian weighs in on religion, sex,death and other topics as he performs beforea live audience at NYU’s Skirball Center.This DVD retails for $19.97.MAIL ORDER BRIDE (E1Entertainment): Daphne Zuniga plays thetitle role (sort of), in this Western romance,playing a disenchanted con artist who takesthe place of a dying friend as mail-orderbride to a Wyoming rancher (CameronBancroft) in the late 1880s. Trouble ensueswhen her former partner-in-crime (GregEvigan, having fun as the heavy) shows upand threatens to blow her cover. This wellpaced,if predictable, melodrama scoredhigh ratings when originally broadcast onthe Hallmark Channel. **’½MARCH ON! THE DAY MY BROTHERMARTIN CHANGED THE WORLD …AND MORE STORIES ABOUT AFRICANAMERICAN HISTORY (ScholasticStorybook Treasures): The title tells all inthis DVD compilation ($14.95 retail) ofstories inspired by the life and work of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr., including “MarchOn!” written by his sister, Christine KingFerris, and narrated by Lynn Whitfield.NOT FORGOTTEN (Anchor BayEntertainment): Nobody is what theyinitially seem in this convoluted thrillerstarring Simon Baker and Paz Vega asa border-town couple whose lives areturned upside-down and inside-out whenhis young daughter (Chloe Moretz)mysteriously vanishes. A few spooky bitsand twists, but best suited to the smallscreen. Rated R. **PRESENTING ROGER CORMAN’S…BEST OF THE B*S COLLECTION 1: HOTBIKES, COOL CARS & BAD BABES(Infinity Entertainment Group): The(lengthy) title tells all, more of less, aboutthis four-DVD boxed set ($29.98 retail)boasting a selection of seven drive-infavorites produced by the legendary (andprolific) filmmaker Roger Corman, wholast year received an honorary Oscar. Thecollection includes the DVD debuts of1969’s Naked Angels and 1972’s BuryMe an Angel (both rated R); John Irelanddirects and stars in The Fast and theFurious (1955), which co-stars DorothyMalone and inspired (in name only) therecent big-screen franchise; T-Bird Gang(1959) stars Ed (then Edwin) Nelson andVic Tayback; Jack Nicholson scored anearly lead role in The Wild Ride (1960);writer/director Jack Hill’s 1969 racing opusThe Winner (AKA Pit Stop) marked BrianDonlevy’s last film and the first for EllenBurstyn (then Ellen McRae); and 1971’sAngels Hard as They Come (rated R) starsScott Glenn and Gary Busey (in his screendebut) and was co-written and produced byJonathan Demme.RIDE AROUND THE WORLD (ImageEntertainment): Writer/producer/director Harry Lynch’s award-winningdocumentary, originally shown in IMAXtheaters, showcases modern-day cowboys(and the cowgirls) as they ride high in suchexotic locations as Morocco, Spain, Chile,Mexico, Canada and the US. The specialeditionDVD retails for $19.98, the Blu-rayfor $24.98.“ROUTE 66”: SEASON THREE,VOLUME TWO (Infinity EntertainmentGroup): On the road again with MartinMilner and first George Maharis (whodeparted mid-season), then Glenn Corbett,in the final 15 episodes from the 1962-’63season of the award-winning, prime-timeCBS-TV anthology series. A star-studdedlineup of guest stars includes Robert Duvall,Rip Torn, James Whitmore, Alan Alda,Harvey Korman, Ralph Meeker, MiriamHopkins, Albert Salmi, Tom Bosley, JosephCampanella, Janice Rule, Guy Lombardo(as himself), James Olson, Diane Bakerand the Man himself, Gene Hackman. Thisboxed set retails for $29.98.SEX AND DEATH 101 (Anchor BayEntertainment): Writer/director DanielWaters’ smug, self-satisfied black comedystars Simon Baker as a ladies’ man who, bya cosmic slip-up, is sent an e-mail listingall the people he ever has — or ever will— sleep with. Winona Ryder shows upfrom time to time as a black-clad femmefatale who calls herself “Death Nell,” andthe cast also includes Patton Oswalt, LeslieBibb, Julie Bowen, Mindy Cohn, SophieMonk, Frances Fisher, Cindy Pickett,Marshall Bell, Dash Mihok and RobertWisdom — but it goes on forever and thelaughs just drain away. Rated R. *’½TREASURY OF 50 STORYBOOKCLASSICS: ANIMAL ANTIC … ANDMORE! (Scholastic Storybook Treasures):A collection of award-winning, criticallyacclaimed animated shorts based on avariety of popular children’s stories,including “Harry the Dirty Dog,” “MakeWay for Ducklings,” “Angus and theDucks,” and many more. Among thecelebrity storytellers are Meryl Streep,John Lithgow and Sarah Jessica Parker.This boxed set retails for $49.95.WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS(SKD USA/Entertainment One): Worldrenowned,award-winning wildlifephotographers Christine and MichelDenis-Huot embark on a journey into thewilds of Kenya in this self-explanatorydocumentary that retails for $14.98.WOULD BE KINGS (E1 Entertainment):Currie Graham and Ben Bass portraycousins and police officers whose loyaltiesare torn by mistrust and corruption in thisengrossing melodrama that appears tohave been edited from an award-winning,Canadian-made mini-series, which mayexplain some incongruous story lapses.Also on hand: Natasha Henstridge, StephenMcHattie, Maxim Roy and reliable RobertForster, very good as the local auto dealer/crime czar. This marked the final credit ofexecutive producer Peter R. Simpson, whodied in 2007. Rated R. **’½Mark Burger can be heard Fridaymornings on the “Two Guys NamedChris” radio show on Rock-92.Copyright 2010, Mark Burger !