Video Vault – Apr 26, 2017
MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK
TALES FROM THE HOOD (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): Under the auspices of executive producer Spike Lee, writer/director Rusty Cundieff scored with this 1994 horror anthology that offers social commentary amid the scares and grue.
Clarence Williams III offers a deliriously inspired performance as the eccentric mortician Mr. Simms, who spins four tales of terror to a trio of street toughs (Joe Torry, Samuel Monroe Jr., and newcomer De’Aundre Bonds), each one a morality play reflective of social and racial issues that remain relevant to this day.
There’s a good cast on hand: Corbin Bernsen, Wings Hauser, Art Evans, Tom Wright, Anthony Griffith, Paula Jai Parker, the great Rosalind Cash (in her final feature), Cundieff himself, and a particularly scary David Alan Grier, as an abusive stepfather. It’s easy to see where all this is headed, but it’s no less fun a ride as a result, and there’s just the right touch of wicked humor added into the mix.
The collector’s-edition Blu-ray ($34.93 retail) includes audio commentary, documentary, original trailer and more. Rated R. ***
ARCTIC ADVENTURE ON FROZEN POND (LionsGate): YouTube SMOSH duo Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox lend their voices to this PG-rated animated comedy about frogs on a misadventure to save their kingdom, available on DVD ($19.98 retail)
CHUPACABRA TERRITORY (Baumant Entertainment/Invincible Pictures/Maltauro Entertainment): Sarah Nicklin and Michael Reed star in writer/producer/director Matt McWilliams’ feature debut, in which explorers hike into the Pinewood Forest to prove the existence of an mythical monster … and guess what happens next? Both the DVD ($17.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($22.95 retail) include cast and crew interviews, trailers and more.
A COWGIRL’S STORY (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Producer Bailee Madison stars in writer/executive producer/director Timothy Armstrong’s family-friendly, PG-rated comedy/drama as a teenager who goes to live with grandfather Pat Boone while her parents are serving overseas in Afghanistan and is inspired to form a performing equestrian drill team, available on DVD ($17.99 retail).
DARK WATERS (Severin Films/CAV Distributing): Mariano Baino’s award-winning 1994 debut feature (originally titled Temnye vodi) stars Louise Salter (in her screen debut) as a woman who uncovers corruption and depravity at a remote island convent. Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s stories, this R-rated “nunsploitation” shocker boasts audio commentary, retrospective featurettes, deleted scenes and more, available on DVD ($19.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($24.95 retail).
DETOUR (Magnet Label/Magnolia Home Entertainment): Writer/director Christopher Smith’s award-winning, modern-day film noir stars Tye Sheridan as a law student whose suspicions that stepfather Stephen Moyer caused the car crash that put his mother into a coma leads him to a diabolical deal with hair-trigger tough Emory Cohen and his stripper girlfriend Bel Powley. Crafty, cool and confident, with sleek cinematography by Christopher Ross. The DVD retails for $26.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98. Both contain interviews, deleted scenes, and more. Rated R. ***
DONNIE DARKO (Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group): A limited-edition DVD/Blu-ray combo ($49.95 retail) of writer/director Richard Kelly’s award-winning, cult-classic 2001 debut feature, starring Jake Gyllenhaal in the title role of a troubled teen plagued by visions of an impending apocalypse – and a six-foot rabbit named Frank (played by James Duval). Definitely not for all tastes, and people seem to either love it or hate it … with yours truly smack in the middle. The star-studded cast includes executive producer Drew Barrymore, Jake’s sister Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze, Noah Wyle, Mary McDonnell, Katharine Ross, Jena Malone, Daveigh Chase, Patience Cleveland (in her final film), Seth Rogen (in his screen debut), and Ashley Tisdale (in her live-action screen debut). This includes both the director’s cut and theatrical-release versions of the film, as well as archival featurettes and interviews, alternate and deleted scenes, and more. Rated R. **½
GARY NUMAN: ANDROID IN LA LA LAND (First Run Features): Directors Steve Read and Will Alexander’s informative, intimate documentary examines the life and career of British rock star Gary Numan (remember “Cars”?), including his struggle with Asperger’s syndrome (which was long undiagnosed), featuring interviews with Numan, his family, friends, collaborators and admirers, as he prepares to promote the release of his latest album, Splinter. Less about the music than the man who created it, and none the worse as a result. ***
“THE GIANFRANCO ROSI COLLECTION” (Kino Lorber): A selection of four critically acclaimed documentaries by the award-winning Italian filmmaker, including his 1993 feature debut Boatman, Below Sea Level (2008), Sacro GRA (2013), and last year’s Oscar-nominated Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare), available on DVD ($34.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($49.95 retail) – replete with bonus interviews.
“HERE COMES PETER COTTONTAIL” (DreamWorks/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Danny Kaye narrates the original, much-loved, stop-motion animation 1971 TV special, originally broadcast on ABC, based on the best-selling 1957 children’s book The Easter Bunny That Overslept, also boasting the vocal talents of Casey Kasem (as the title character), Paul Frees, and the immortal Vincent Price (as “Irontail”), available on DVD ($19.99 retail).
KILLA (Kino Lorber): Cinematographer Avinash Arun makes his feature directorial debut with this award-winning comedy/drama starring Archit Deodhar (in his screen debut) as a lonely boy grieving for the loss of his father who struggles to adjust when his mother (Amruta Subhash) is transferred to a new town. In Marathi with English subtitles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail).
ISOLATION (LionsGate): Tricia Helfer and Luke Mably headline this picturesque but pedestrian thriller – “inspired by true events” – as a couple whose vacation to the Bahamas turns into a fight for survival. At least they and co-stars Stephen Lang, Dominic Purcell (also an executive producer), Marie Avgeropolous and Claudia Church got a trip out of this. Rated R. *
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): A 25th-anniversary Blu-ray ($19.99 retail) of director Penny Marshall’s popular but wildly overrated 1992 comedy about the formation of the All-American Girls Baseball League during World War II, with Tom Hanks as the prototypical crusty, hard-drinking manager backed by Geena Davis, Madonna, Jon Lovitz, Rosie O’Donnell (in her screen debut) Bill Pullman, Marshall’s brother Garry and daughter Tracy Reiner, and Lori Petty (who gives the best performance). Special features include retrospective documentary and interviews, and more. A predictable, corny compendium of sports-movie cliches with precious few moments of inspiration. Rated PG. *
A LITTLE LUST (TLA Releasing): Director/screenwriter Veronica Pivetti’s debut feature (originally titled Ne Giulietta ne Romeo) stars Andrea Amaro (in his screen debut) as a teenager whose decision to come out of the closet draws him closer to best friends Carolina Pavone (in her screen debut) and Francesco De Miranda. In Italian with English subtitles, available on DVD ($24.99 retail).
THE MARINE 5: BATTLEGROUND (WWE Studios/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): The fifth in the R-rated action franchise and the third to star Mike “The Miz” Mizanin as combat veteran Jake Slater, here pitted against a gang of bikers, with fellow pro wrestlers Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, Heath Slater, Naomi and Mizanin’s real-life wife Maryse along for the ride, available on DVD ($19.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($25.99 retail).
“MIRACULOUS: TALES OF LADYBUG & CAT NOIR: IT’S LADYBUG!” (ZAG Heroez/Shout! Kids Factory): A DVD selection ($14.98 retail) of five episodes from the popular, animated fantasy/adventure series focusing on the adventures of two Parisian teenagers and their superhero alter-egos as they battle crime in the City of Lights.
PUNCHING HENRY (Well Go USA Entertainment): Henry Phillips (playing “Henry Phillips”) is a struggling comedian who consents to participate in a reality TV series in this comedy (originally titled And Punching the Clown) scripted by Phillips and director Gregori Viens as a follow-up to their earlier collaboration Punching the Clown (2009), with a star-studded cast including J.K. Simmons, Sarah Silverman, Tig Notaro, Jim Jefferies, Doug Stanhope, Mike Judge and Clifton Collins Jr., available on Blu-ray ($29.95 retail).
RUMBLE FISH (The Criterion Collections): Francis Ford Coppola’s highly-stylized, award-winning 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s novel (which he scripted with the author) stars Matt Dillon as a rebellious teen trying to live up to the reputation of older brother Mickey Rourke in Tulsa, backed by a star-studded cast including Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Vincent Spano, Nicolas Cage, Diana Scarwid, Larry Fishburne, Chris Penn, Tom Waits and William Smith, the latter excellent as a malevolent motorcycle cop. Stephen H. Burum’s black-and-white cinematography is gorgeous and evocative, but this almost experimental film succumbs too often to pretentiousness – but despite being a box-office misfire, it does have its devotees. Both the special-edition DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($39.95 retail) include audio commentary, retrospective and vintage interviews, and more. Rated R. **½
TAEKWONDO (TLA Releasing): Writer Marco Berger and cinematographer Martin Farina edited, produced and directed this Spanish-language comedy/drama about a group of friends whose weekend of male bonding in Buenos Aires is complicated by the presence of a newcomer (Gabriel Epstein), who happens to be gay, available on DVD ($22.99 retail).
TAMPOPO (The Criterion Collection): Juzo Itami’s award-winning 1985 comedy stars Tsutomo Yamazaki and Ken Watanabe as truckers who decide to aid the widowed Tampopo (Nobuko Miyamoto, Itami’s real-life wife) make a success of her noodle stand. In Japanese with English subtitles. Both the special-edition DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($39.95 retail) include retrospective documentary and interviews, and more.
WALKING WITH THE ENEMY (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment): Lensed in 2014, story writer/producer/director Mark Schmidt’s award-winning World War II melodrama (inspired by true incidents) stars Jonas Armstrong as a Hungarian Jew who dons a German uniform to save his family and fellow underground fighters. Well-meaning but slow-moving, despite a cast including Simon Dutton, William Hope, and Ben Kingsley, who adds some first-half class as Hungary’s ousted leader, Regent Horthy. Rated PG-13. *½
(Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2017, Mark Burger) HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”email@example.com