The Arts

Video Vault – Feb 1, 2017

MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT

DVD PICK OF THE WEEK

738329208615SCAVENGER HUNT (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): An all-star cast enlivens this silly, juvenile, self-explanatory 1979 comedy that ranks as a guilty pleasure.

When mega-buck toy manufacturer Milton Parker (Vincent Price) drops dead, various relatives and servants assemble for a reading of the will – only to learn that in order to inherit his (vast) fortune, they must divide into teams and participate in a city-wide scavenger hunt.

Thus begins a shameless slapstick romp through the streets of San Diego (which takes a beating), as such illustrious “contestants” as Richard Benjamin, Tony Randall, Cloris Leachman, Richard Mulligan, James Coco, Cleavon Little, Roddy McDowall, Scatman Crothers, Dirk Benedict, Willie Aames, Stephanie Faracy and Ruth Gordon go for broke – in more ways than one – while attorney Robert Morley keeps tabs on the score.

Also on hand in cameo appearances are Meat Loaf, Pat McCormick, Avery Schreiber, Liz Torres, Stephen Furst, Carol Wayne, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger (who accidentally sends Randall flying out a second-floor window). Billy Goldenberg’s jaunty score includes a disco flavor that may cause dangerous flashbacks to the ’70s, but you can’t go wrong with Scatman Crothers crooning over the end credits.

The DVD retails for $14.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95. Both include audio commentary by Michael Schultz and retrospective interviews with Benjamin and Masur. Rated PG. **½

ALSO AVAILABLE

ALL THE WAY (HBO Home Entertainment): Bryan Cranston (also an executive producer) reprises his Tony-winning role as Lyndon Baines Johnson in this HBO political drama adapted by executive producer Robert Schenkkan from his play, with Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King Jr., Melissa Leo as Lady Bird Johnson, Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover, Frank Langella, Bradley Whitford and Joe Morton. Nominated for eight Emmy Awards including Outstanding Television Movie, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Cranston), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Leo), and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Special (Jay Roach), available on DVD ($14.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.98 retail).

ANTARCTICA: ICE AND SKY (Music Box Films Home Entertainment): Luc Jacquet’s award-winning documentary (originally titled La glace et le ciel) profiles noted scientisy Claude Lorius, who have pioneered research in climate change for the better part of 50 years. In French with English subtitles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail).

BOY, DID I GET A WRONG NUMBER! (Olive Films): Late-entry big-screen Bob Hope hi-jinks, this 1966 farce sees him a married realtor infatuated (understandably) with European starlet Elke Sommer, much to the consternation of his wife (Marjorie Lord) and nosy housekeeper (Phyllis Diller), available on DVD ($24.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.95 retail).

“THE CODE”: SEASON 2 (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): Ashley Zuckerman and Dan Spielman are joined by new regulars Anthony LaPaglia and Sigrid Thornton in all six episodes from the 2016 season of the award-winning Australian political drama, available as a two-disc DVD ($39.99 retail).

DANNY SAYS (Magnolia Home Entertainment): The life and career of radio disc jockey-turned-underground news editor-turned punk rock manager Danny Fields is chronicled in Brendan Toller’s award-winning feature documentary. A little flighty at the outset (not unlike its subject), but enjoyable and informative for punk mavens. The DVD retails for $26.98. **½

(DIS)HONESTY: THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES (Kino Lorber): Truth or consequences? Noted behavioral scholar and best-selling author Dan Ariely explores the reasons (and repercussions) of lying in this self-explanatory documentary feature, available on DVD ($29.95 retail).

“A FRENCH VILLAGE: 1944” – SEASON FIVE (MHz Networks): A four-DVD collection ($39.95 retail) of all 12 episodes from the 2013 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.

GIMME DANGER (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch applies his patented imagination to this engaging, informative and award-winning music documentary tracing the history of the seminal punk band The Stooges, available on DVD ($30.99 retail). Rated R. ***

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): Emily Blunt dominates this award-winning, atmospheric adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel, as an alcoholic divorcee who finds herself intertwined in a murder investigation in the community where she once lived. Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney and Lisa Kudrow round out the cast – some as suspects, some as red herrings, and some as victims. The DVD retails for $29.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $34.90, and the 4K Ultra HD for $44.98. Rated R. ***

THE ID (Hutson Ranch Media/Panic Ventures Inc.): Producer/director Thommy Hutson’s award-winning psychological thriller stars Amanda Wyss as an emotionally fragile woman  constantly tormented by abusive father Patrick Peduto, available on Blu-ray ($24.95 retail).

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (Paramount): Producer Tom Cruise reprises his title role in this well-made but formulaic follow-up to the 2012 action opus, based on Lee Childs’ best-selling novels, in which he teams up with disgraced Army major Cobie Smulders and (possibly) his teen-aged daughter (Danica Yarosh) to track down an illegal arms operation, available on DVD ($29.99 retail), DVD/Blu-ray combo ($39.99 retail) and 4K Ultra HD ($49.99 retail). Rated PG-13. **½

KLOWN FOREVER (Drafthouse Films/MVD Entertainment Group): Writer/producers Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam reunite (as “themselves”) in his brash, broad follow-up (originally titled Klovn Forever) to their 2010 comedy Klown (Klovn), in which they leave Denmark to take Los Angeles by storm. Not for all tastes but cheerfully outrageous, with newcomer Simone Colling a sexy standout as Christensen’s daughter, plus appearances by Isla Fisher, Adam Levine, Iben Hjejle and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. In English and Danish with English subtitles. The DVD/Blu-ray combo retails for $39.95.  **½

LISTENING (Listening/MVD Entertainment Group): Screenwriter/producer/director Khalil Sullins’ award-winning feature debut stars Thomas Stroppel, Artie Ahr and Amber Marie Bollinger as graduate students who develop mind-reading technology that threatens to destroy them. Intriguing at times, but the characters’ domestic travails aren’t as interesting as the science-fiction and morality aspects of the story. **½

“THE LOVE BOAT”: SEASON THREE (CBS DVD/Paramount): The Pacific Princess sets sail again in all 27 episodes from the 1979-’80 season of the long-running, award-winning ABC romantic comedy series based on Jacqueline Saunders’ best-seller, featuring guest stars Don Adams, Milton Berle, Don Knotts, Ginger Rogers, Donny Osmond, Sonny Bono, Charo and many others. “Volume One” ($29.98 retail) includes the first 14 episodes, “Volume Two” ($29.98 retail) the remaining 14 (including the continuation of a two-part episode).

LOVE CAMP 7 (Blue Underground/CAV Distributing): Yes, at long last … a limited-edition DVD/Blu-ray combo ($39.95 retail) of writer/producer Bob Cresse and Wes Bishop’s notorious, controversial, and fact-based (!) 1969 exploitation cult classic set in a Nazi prison camp (Cresse plays the commandant) where women are abused, raped, forced into prostitution, and tortured. Special features include a documentary about “Nazi-sploitation” films, theatrical trailer and more.

WAX MASK (One 7 Movies/CAV Distributing): A series of gruesome murders surrounds the opening a wax museum in 1900 Rome in this 1997 shocker (originally titled Maschera di Cera) clearly inspired by The Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and House of Wax (1953). Producer Dario Argento originally tapped fellow cult legend Lucio Fulci to direct, but upon Fulci’s death special-effects artist Sergio Stivaletti took the reins for his first and only directorial stint. Sumptuous atmosphere and period design are somewhat undermined by a silly storyline, but this certainly has its moments – most of them gory! The Blu-ray retails for $29.95. **

XXX (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Just in time for the long-awaited (?) sequel The Return of Xander Cage, this 15th-anniversary Blu-ray ($19.99 retail) of the ready-to-order, award-winning 2002 action blockbuster sees producer/star Vin Diesel providing the muscle, Asia Argento the sexy glamor, Martin Csokas the villainy, and Samuel L. Jackson the exposition. Splashy stunts aside, this is a simple-minded James Bond knock-off. Special features include audio commentary,  featurettes, music videos and more. 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:marksburger@yahoo.com”marksburger@yahoo.com

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