Video Vault – Nov 9, 2016
MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK
NIGHTHAWKS (Shout! Factory): One of Sylvester Stallone’s many post-Rocky flops is actually one of his better movies – in which he gives one of his best performances.
Released in 1981, the story focuses on Deke DaSilva (Stallone), a maverick New York detective assigned to track down Wulfgar (Rutger Hauer in his American debut), an international terrorist at large in the Big Apple. The bearded, hard-bitten Stallone contrasts nicely with the dashing but lethal Hauer, and their scenes crackle – especially when DaSilva first recognizes him in a disco (those were the days!).
Gary Nelson (The Black Hole) left the production early and the directorial credit goes to Bruce Malmuth, although Stallone did some helming as well (much to the displeasure of the Director’s Guild), yet the film is seamless, stylish and effective – and Keith Emerson’s score is spot-on.
A sturdy supporting cast includes Billy Dee Williams, Persis Khambatta, Lindsay Wagner, Joe Spinell, and especially Nigel Davenport. The “Shout Select” collector’s-edition Blu-ray ($26.97 retail) includes retrospective interviews, theatrical trailer, and more. Rated R. ***
“BANSHEE”: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (HBO): Events come to a head – and a close – in the titular Amish community in Pennsylvania, in all eight episodes from the 2016 (and final) season of the award-winning HBO crime series starring Antony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen, Matt Servitto, Frankie Faison, and UNCSA School of Drama graduate Trieste Kelly Dunn, now available on DVD ($24.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.98 retail), both replete with special features for series fans, affectionately called “Fanshees.”
CARNAGE PARK (IFC Midnight/Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): Writer/director Mickey Keating’s thriller is set in 1978, with James Landry Hebert and Michael Villar as bank robbers and Ashley Bell as their hostage, who end up being stalked by deranged combat veteran Pat Healy, available on Blu-ray ($22.97 retail).
“CRIMINAL MINDS: BEYOND BORDERS” (CBS DVD/Paramount): Gary Sinise jumps from one franchise (“CSI”) to another in the second CBS “Criminal Minds” spin-off, as a veteran FBI agent who leads his team on a globe-trotting odyssey to combat crime, in all 13 episodes from the inaugural season, available on DVD ($64.99 retail), replete with bonus features
“CRIMINAL MINDS”: THE ELEVENTH SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount): A DVD collection ($55.98 retail) of all 22 episodes (plus special features) from the 2015′-16 season of the award-winning CBS crime drama dramatizing the activities of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), boasting the swan song for series regulars Shemar Moore and Thomas Gibson (who was dismissed early in Season 12), although Joe Mantegna, AJ Cook, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kirsten Vangsness and series newcomer Aisha Tyler remain on board.
“FEED THE BEAST”: SEASON ONE (LionsGate): Best buddies David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess risk everything to open a restaurant in the Bronx, in all 10 episodes from the inaugural 2016 season of the AMC drama series, available on DVD ($29.97 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.98 retail) – both replete with special features.
IMPERIUM (LionsGate): FBI agent Daniel Radcliffe goes undercover to infiltrate and break a right-wing white-supremacy group in writer/director Daniel Ragussis’ R-rated thriller based on the experiences of story writer and former FBI agent Michael German, available on DVD ($19.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($24.99 retail).
LITTLE FAUSS AND BIG HALSY (Olive Films): Robert Redford (he’s Halsy) and Michael J. Pollard (he’s Fauss) burn up the track as rival motorcyclists in director Sidney J. Furie’s R-rated 1970 comedy, available on DVD ($24.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.95 retail).
“THE NIGHT OF” (HBO): Riz Ahmed plays a Pakistani-American college student accused of murder in this eight-part HBO mini-series created and executive-produced by Steven Zaillian and Richard Price and based on the British mini-series Criminal Justice. James Gandolfini (credited as an executive producer) was to have played Ahmed’s attorney, but upon his death Robert De Niro was signed to play the role, until scheduling conflicts led him to step down – allowing John Turturro to play the role. Michael Kenneth Williams, Glenne Headly, Jeannie Berlin, Sofia Black D’Elia, Bill Camp and Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones also appear, available on DVD ($49.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($59.99 retail)
ROAD HOUSE (Shout! Factory): Patrick Swayze plays a professional bouncer in producer Joel Silver and director Rowdy Herrington’s immensely silly 1989 action melodrama, which nevertheless became an enormous cult favorite. Ben Gazzara chews the scenery mercilessly as the heavy, Kelly Lynch adds misplaced elegance as a comely doctor, and scene-stealer Sam Elliott plays Swayze’s grizzled – and thus doomed – mentor. The “Shout Select” Blu-ray ($29.93 retail) includes audio commentaries, retrospective interviews, theatrical trailer, and more. Rated R. *½
SCARED BUT SMARTER: LIFE N TIMES OF DRIVIN’ N’ CRYIN’ (Shanzing Films/MVD Entertainment Group): Producer/director Eric Von Haessler’s makes his feature debut with this music documentary tracing the sometimes-turbulent 30-year history of the Southern alternative rock band, available on DVD ($19.95 retail).
THE SEA OF TREES (LionsGate): Matthew McConaughey headlines Gus Van Sant’s interesting, picturesque misfire as a grief-stricken professor who travels (one way) to the infamous Aokigahara forest (“Suicide Forest”) at the base of Mt. Fuji in Japan, where he encounters a suicidal stranger (Ken Watanabe) and reflects on his troubled marriage (to Naomi Watts, seen in flashbacks). The DVD retails for $19.98, the Blu-ray for $24.99. Rated PG-13. **
SHERPA (LionsGate): Writer/director Jennifer Peedom’s award-winning documentary examines the 2014 Mount Everest ascent that ended in catastrophe on April 18, as well as the history of the Sherpas who act as mountain guides, available on DVD ($19.98 retail).
“SUSPECTS”: SERIES 3 & 4 (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): A two-DVD collection ($49.99 retail) of all eight episodes from the 2015 and ’16 seasons of the popular, unscripted British crime series starring Damien Molony, Fay Ripley and Clare-Hope Ashitey as a trio of detectives teamed together to solve unusual cases in contemporary London.
“THE TUBES – LIVE AT GERMAN TELEVISION: THE MUSIKLADEN CONCERT 1981” (Sireena Records/MVD Entertainment Group): The title tells all in this concert documentary in which the San Francisco-based band performs such favorites as “A Matter of Pride,” “TV is King,” “Mondo Bondage” and many more, available on DVD ($18.95 retail).
VILLA RIDES! (Olive Films): Yul Brynner (as Pancho Villa) and Robert Mitchum (as an American mercenary) star in this lumbering, intermittently entertaining 1968 Western, adapted from William Douglas Lansford’s novel Pancho Villa by no less than Sam Peckinpah and Robert Towne, with Charles Bronson, Herbert Lom, Alexander Knox, Robert Viharo, Fernando Rey, and Bronson’s wife Jill Ireland on hand, the latter just briefly. Jack Hildyard’s cinematography and Maurice Jarre’s score are assets, but the film never really comes together. The DVD retails for $24.95, the Blu-ray for $29.95. Rated R. **
WITH CHILD (Summer Hill Films/MVD Entertainment Group): Writer/director Titus Heckel’s fact-based debut feature stars Kerry van der Griend as a blue-collar widower struggling to raise his infant daughter by himself, available on DVD ($14.95 retail).
WONDERS OF THE ARCTIC (Shout! Factory): Writer/director David Lickley’s self-explanatory IMAX documentary explores the harsh yet beautiful terrain, its inhabitants, and the ecological importance of this frozen frontier, available on Blu-ray ($19.99 retail) and 4K UHD 3-D Blu-ray ($39.93 retail).
(Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2016, Mark Burger) HYPERLINK “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”email@example.com