DVD Pick of the week: Meet Monica Velour (Anchor Bay Entertainment)
Writer/director Keith Bearden’s noteworthy feature debut is a tour de force for leading lady Kim Cattrall, playing the title role.
All-American teen geek Tobe (Dustin Ingram) travels to Indiana, ostensibly to sell his vintage truck but instead encountering the object of his overheated adolescent affections: ’80s porn queen Monica Velour (Cattrall), star of such “classics” as Saturday Night Beaver and Pork ‘n Mindy. No longer the glamorous sex goddess of yesteryear, Monica is a brittle, embittered single mother barely making ends meet as she pushes 50.
This coming-of-age story is alternately broad and bittersweet, with a good measure of requisite quirkiness known in for good measure, and although Ingram’s resemblance to Jon Heder’s Napoleon Dynamite is a little distracting (albeit likely intentional), he acquits himself well, as do stalwarts Brian Dennehy (as Tobe’s beer-swilling grandpa) and Keith David (dispensing words of wisdom). But in the end, it’s Cattrall’s terrific turn that gives Meet Monica Velour its heart and soul. She’s a knockout, in every sense of the word. Rated R.
AMERICAN: THE BILL HICKS STORY (BBC Worldwide): Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas’ award-winning documentary explores the life of comedian Bill Hicks, whose career was tragically cut short by cancer at age 32. The specialedition DVD retails for $29.98, the specialedition Blu-ray for $29.99.
THE BEST OF GLOBAL LENS: BRAZIL (First Run Features): A self-explanatory DVD collection ($49.95 retail) of four critically acclaimed, award-winning Brazilian feature films: Lucia Murat’s 1992 drama Almost Brothers (Quase Dose Irmaos); Marcelo Gomes’ 2005 historical drama Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures (Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus); Claudio Assis’ 2002 anthology Mango Yellow (Amarelo Manga); and Renato Falcao’s 2003 silent comedy Margarette’s Feast (A Festa de Margarette). The first three films are in Portuguese with English subtitles.
BORN TO RIDE (Image Entertainment): Director James Fargo’s affectionate throwback to the motorcycle movies of the ’60s and ’70s stars Casper Van Dien and Patrick Muldoon as bikers who unwittingly get mixed up in a blackmail scheme involving manic mobster William Forsythe and his minions. Theresa Russell appears as Van Dien’s mother(!) is this untaxing time-killer.
DEAR MR. GACY (Anchor Bay Entertainment): In a bit of inspired casting, William Forsythe portrays real-life serial killer John Wayne Gacy in this psychological thriller based on Jason Moss’ non-fiction bestseller The Last Victim, detailing the correspondence and relationship with the imprisoned Gacy while Moss (Jesse Moss, no relation) was a teenager. Some eerie moments stand out, as does Forsythe’s performance. The real Moss committed suicide in 2006. Rated R.
ELVIRA’S MOVIE MACABRE (Entertainment One): The “Mistress of the Dark” herself (AKA Cassandra Peterson) is back in action, hosting diabolical double features in her own inimitable, irreverent fashion: Eegah! (1962)/The Terror (1963) and The Manster (1959)/The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962). Each DVD twin-bill retails for $14.98.
EROTIC ESCAPE (One 7 Movies/CAV Distributing): Escaped prisoner Rodrigo Obregon takes heiress Eleonora Vallone hostage and a battle of wits begins. Title notwithstanding, this dusty, dull 1985 potboiler isn’t very erotic… although viewers may crave escape before long.
GONE (A&E Home Entertainment): Molly Parker goes into action when her daughter is kidnapped in this convoluted thriller. It’s not Hitchcock but it’s not bad, either. Parker always adds something.
HOODWINKED TOO!: HOOD VS. EVIL (The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Entertainment): A belated follow-up to the 2005 animated comedy rounds up and spoofs such classic fairy-tale characters as Red Riding Hood (voiced by Hayden Panettiere), Granny (voiced by Glenn Close), the Big Bad Wolf (voiced by Patrick Warburton), Hansel (voice by Bill Hader) and Gretel (voice by Amy Poehler) and others. Other familiar voices on hand: Martin Short, Cheech and Chong, Joan Cusack, Wayne Newton and others. The first film was a surprise hit, but this was a surprise miss. Available as a single-disc DVD ($29.98 retail), a DVD/Blu-ray combo ($34.99 retail), or a DVD/3-D Blu-ray fourpack ($39.99 retail). Rated PG.
THE INHERITANCE (One Village Entertainment/Image Entertainment): Relatives gathered for the reading of a will discover that their inheritance has ominous (and supernatural) overtones, in this awardwinning but uneven chiller, which marks writer/ director Robert O’Hara’s feature debut and boasts an interesting African-American angle. The ensemble cast includes Keith David (also an executive producer), Golden Brooks, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Rochelle Aytes and Andre De Shields.
“LAVELL CRAWFORD: CAN A BROTHER GET SOME LOVE?” (Entertainment One): The hefty funnyman returns home to St. Louis for this stand-up comedy special filmed at the Orpheum Theatre, available on DVD ($19.98 retail).
LOVE AT FIRST KILL (Anchor Bay Entertainment): This slow-moving psychological thriller, laced with black comedy and originally titled The Box Collector, stars Noah Segan as a small-town mama’s boy who becomes attracted to the divorcee next door (Lyne Renee), which causes problems. Clunky at times, but not half bad, with Margot Kidder going for broke as Mom. This marked the final directorial effort of John Daly (better known as a producer), who died in 2008.
“ONLY IN AMERICA WITH LARRY THE CABLE GUY”: VOLUME ONE (A&E Home Entertainment): The popular comedian (born Daniel Whitney) embarks on a cross-country trip across these United States, adding his own brand of humor as he explores the nation’s history, in this DVD collection ($19.95 retail) of 10 episodes from his reality series. Who could’ve predicted that Larry the Cable Guy would headline a History Channel show?
“STORAGE WARS”: THE COMPLETE SEASON ONE (A&E Home Entertainment): This popular A&E reality series follows four professional “buyers” as they raid garage sales, consignment stores and auctions in search of valuable items. This three-DVD boxed set ($19.95 retail) includes all 19 episodes from the inaugural 2010-’11 season.
off-kilter coming-of-age fable with newcomer Donal Gallery as an orphaned American teenager who gets mixed up with the criminal element when sent to live with relatives in Ireland in the 1970s. Writer/directors Michael Aimette and John Hofmann’s feature debut has some good moments but is too often selfconscious and smirky, and loses its footing in the second half. Timothy Hutton, Alessandro Nivola and Colm Meaney add heft to stock roles, and there’s a great joke about baseball star Mike Schmidt. Rated R.
“THE TWILIGHT ZONE”: SEASON 5 (Image Entertainment): The Blu-ray release ($99.98 retail) of all 36 episodes, plus special features, from the 1963-’64 (and final) season of Rod Serling’s seminal science-fiction/fantasy series, with a star-studded line-up of guest stars including Lee Marvin, James Coburn, William Shatner, Mickey Rooney, Martin Landau, Jack Klugman, Warren Oates, Telly Savalas, Gladys Cooper, Patrick O’Neal, Jackie Cooper and even Robby the Robot!
“UFC: BAD BLOOD — LIDDELL VS. ORTIZ” (Ultimate Fighting Championship/Anchor Bay Entertainment): The long-standing, hard-hitting rivalry between martial artists Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell and “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz is explored in this sports documentary, available on DVD ($19.98 retail) or Blu-ray ($29.99 retail).
“WONDERS OF THE UNIVERSE” (BBC Worldwide): The title tells all in this “starstudded” five-part documentary mini-series hosted by physicist Brian Cox, which retails for $24.98 (DVD) or $24.99 (Blu-ray).
Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2011, Mark Burger.