MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK
THE CAR (Scream Factory/Shout! Factory): While Star Wars was burning up the box-office in 1977, Universal “paid homage” to favorite son Steven Spielberg with this high-concept mash-up of his 1971 TV-movie breakthrough Duel and his 1975 blockbuster Jaws.
From the title, it’s evident what the threat is – a souped-up, Satanic (?), 1971 Lincoln Continental that preys on the residents of a small Arizona town. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride – although not without amusing B-movie moments and requisite car crashes.
Heroic James Brolin heads the human contingent, backed by Ronny Cox, Kathleen Lloyd, Kim and Kyle Richards, R.G. Armstrong, John Marley and John Rubinstein, but face it – the star is the Car, honking all the way. The Blu-ray ($29.99 retail) includes retrospective interviews, theatrical trailer, radio spots and more. Rated PG. **’½
“THE BOLD ONES” (Timeless Media Group): Burl Ives, Joseph Campanella and James Farentino in “The Lawyers: The Complete Series” ($59.99 retail), all 27 episodes (and two pilot films) from the 1969-’72 run of the Emmy-winning legal series; Leslie Nielsen and Hari Rhodes in “The Protectors: The Complete Series” ($34.99 retail), all six episodes (and pilot film) from its 1969-’70 run. Both series’ ran in rotation on NBC.
CLUTTER (Table Ten Films/Film Buff): Carol Kane headlines this award-winning, bittersweet, sometimes abrasive, dysfunctional-family comedy/drama as a compulsive hoarder whose relationship with her children (sad-sack Joshua Leonard, acerbic Natasha Lyonne and quavering Halley Feiffer) comes to a head. **’½
EASY MONEY/MEN AT WORK (Shout! Factory): A “blue-collar Blu-ray” double feature ($24.97 retail) boasting the slap-happy 1983 Rodney Dangerfield vehicle (rated R) and the bumpy 1990 farce pairing Charlie Sheen with brother and writer/director Emilio Estevez (rated PG-13). Easy Money: ***/Men at Work: *’½
“THE FACTS OF LIFE”: SEASON SEVEN (Shout! Factory): A DVD collection ($29.93 retail) of all 24 episodes from the 1985-’86 season of the long-running NBC sitcom spun off from “Diff’rent Strokes,” with series regulars Charlotte Rae, Nancy McKeon, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields and Mindy Cohn joined by young George Clooney.
“GENE AUTRY MOVIE COLLECTION 12″ (Timeless Media Group): The latest DVD round-up ($19.97 retail) of four fully-restored vintage Westerns starring the beloved singing cowboy Gene Autry (1907-’98): The Sagebrush Troubadour (1935), Ride, Ranger, Ride (’36), Yodelin’ Kid from Pine Ridge (’37) and Gold Mine in the Sky (’38).
THE GIANT KING (LionsGate): Bella Thorne and Russell Peters lend their voices to this PG-rated animated feature as a pair of giant robots who put aside their differences to seek their maker. The DVD retails for $19.98.
“THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM MACHINE” (S’More Entertainment): A four-DVD collection ($39.98 retail) of the entire 1971-’72 season of the PBS series combining comedy sketches, music, political and social commentary and even dramatic readings, with appearances by Chevy Chase, Albert Brooks, Charles Grodin, Carly Simon, Marshall Efron, Andy Rooney, Martin Mull, David Steinberg, Henry Winkler, Ken Shapiro, Elaine Stritch and others.
“JULIEN DUVIVIER IN THE THIRTIES” (The Criterion Collection): The “Eclipse Series 44″ DVD collection ($59.95 retail) of a quartet of digitally restored classic films made by the acclaimed French filmmaker (1896-1967): David Golder (1931), Poil de Carotte (1925), La Tete d’un homme (1933) and Un Carnet de bal (1937).
MAX (Warner Home Video): Josh Wiggins plays a rebellious teen who bonds with the title character, a military dog shipped stateside after the tragic death of his handler and the teen’s older brother (Robbie Amell) in this PG-rated adventure, available on DVD ($28.98 retail) and in a DVD/Blu-ray combo ($35.99 retail).
MINIONS (Universal Studios Home Entertainment): Boffo box-office for this animated Despicable Me prequel/spin-off, detailing the history of those loyal, bumbling, yellow-hued entities (and oddities) pre-Gru (voiced again by Steve Carell). The star-studded voice-over cast also includes Sandra Bullock, Steve Coogan, Michael Keaton, Jon Hamm, Allison Janney and Geoffrey Rush. The DVD retails for $29.98, the DVD/Blu-ray combo for $34.98, the 3-D combo for $49.98. Rated PG. ***
PAN (Warner Home Video): Hugh Jackman plays the pirate Blackbeard in director Joe Wright’s big-budget, PG-rated fantasy that offers the origin story for J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, with newcomer Levi Miller as Peter, Garrett Hedlund as Hook, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and Amanda Seyfried as Mary. A major critical and financial letdown, available on DVD ($28.98 retail), DVD/Blu-ray combo ($35.99 retail) and 3-D combo ($44.95 retail).
“PEE WEE’S PLAYHOUSE”: CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (Shout! Factory): This 1988 holiday-themed episode from the long-running comedy series starring Paul Reubens and guest stars Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello, k.d. lang, Magic Johnson, Charo, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Oprah Winfrey, Grace Jones and others, earned three Emmy nominations and is now available on DVD ($6.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.97 retail).
SECRETS IN THE FALL (Monarch Home Entertainment): Writer/producer/director Brittany Goodwin’s sequel to her 2012 debut Secrets in the Snow is a faith-based fable about the friendships forged during a weekend retreat. The DVD retails for $24.95.
THE SEVENTH DWARF (Shout! Factory): Norm Macdonald, Peyton List, Nina Hagen and newcomer Joshua Graham lend their voices to this animated comedy/musical that pokes fun at classic fairy tales, available on DVD ($16.97 retail) and 3-D DVD/Blu-ray combo ($24.97 retail).
SPEEDY (The Criterion Collection): A special edition of legendary comedy star Harold Lloyd’s 1928 silent feature (his last), in which he plays the title role, a bespectacled and bumbling everyman at large in New York City. Lloyd’s trademark hair-raising escapades remain entertaining and impressive over 85 years later. Ted Wilde earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director (Comedy Feature) – a category which no longer exists. Special features include audio commentary, archival footage and more. The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $39.95. ***’½
“TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: DINOBOTS!“ (Hasbro Studios/Shout! Kids Factory): A DVD compilation ($14.93 retail) of five episodes from the award-winning, animated series, featuring the voices of LeVar Burton, Lacey Chabert and Peter Cullen (as Optimus Prime). Hasbro/Shout! Kids has also released “Transformers Prime: Ultimate Decepticons,” a five-episode DVD compilation ($9.99 retail) featuring the voices of Ernie Hudson, Jeffrey Combs, Will Friedle, Markie Post, Josh Keaton and, of course, Peter Cullen (as Optimus Prime).
“WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS SHORTS COLLECTION” (Disney): The title tells all in this Blu-ray collection ($39.99 retail) of 12 cartoon shorts produced by the wizards of Disney, including the Oscar winners Paperman (2012) and Feast (2014).
“WHEN CALLS THE HEART: FOLLOW YOUR HEART, HEART OF THE FAMILY AND HEART AND HOME“ (Shout! Factory): Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing, Lori Loughlin and Jack Wagner are on hand for these feature-length episodes (each $14.93 retail) from the 2015 season of the Hallmark Channel series based on Janette Oke’s 1983 novel, set in an early 20th-century Canadian mining town. Shout! Factory has also released “When Calls the Heart: Year Two (The Television Movie Collection),” retailing for $29.93.
A YEAR AND CHANGE (Vision Films): Executive producer Bryan Greenberg tries to put his life back together after a New Year’s Eve mishap in writer/producer/director Steven Suettinger’s feature debut, a likably-played comedy/drama that overreaches but is worth a look. **’½
(Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2015, Mark Burger)