Video Vault – Mar 29, 2017
MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK
FOR THE LOVE OF SPOCK (FilmRise/MVD Entertainment Group): Adam Nimoy directed this entertaining, deeply personal documentary about his father, actor/filmmaker Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015), forever immortalized as the character of the Vulcan science officer Mr. Spock on “Star Trek.” This is the story of the “man behind the ears” – told in honest, forthright terms.
We learn as much about Adam Nimoy as his famous father, including their sometimes-contentious relationship over the years, through reminiscences by both men and with friends, family members and colleagues (including “Trek” alumni William Shatner, George Takei, Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols), who share their reminiscences about Leonard Nimoy, a man who was as complex as he was ambitious, artistic and talented.
Augmented by a superb selection of archival footage – “Star Trek” fans will surely be thrilled – this pays proper and respectful tribute to Leonard Nimoy as a man, an artist, and an icon – one whose legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of millions the world over.
The DVD ($19.95 retail) includes audio commentary and other bonus features. ***½
45 YEARS (The Criterion Collection): Director/screenwriter Andrew Haigh’s adaptation of David Constantine’s short story In Another Country offers the first (and first-rate) pairing of Charlotte Rampling (Oscar nominee for Best Actress) and Tom Courtenay as a couple whose long marriage is compromised by an event from his past that unexpectedly resurfaces on the eve of their 45th anniversary, available on DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($39.95 retail) – both replete with audio commentary, retrospective interviews and more. Rated R. ***
ACCIDENTAL COURTESY: DARYL DAVIS, RACE & AMERICA (First Run Features): Producer/director Matthew Ornstein makes his feature debut with this engaging, award-winning documentary following noted pianist Daryl Davis (also an associate producer), who likes to meet – and befriend – members of the Ku Klux Klan, collects Klan robes and artifacts in the hopes of opening a “Museum of the Klan,” and has even received a “Certificate of Friendship” from the KKK! Eye-opening and sometimes heated, with Davis’ endless likability, effortless charm and compassion shining through. ***
ARSENAL (LionsGate): Adrian Grenier wages a one-man war on crime boss Nicolas Cage after his brother (Johnathon Schaech) is abducted in this R-rated shoot-’em-up originally titled Southern Fury and co-starring John Cusack, available on DVD ($19.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($24.99 retail).
“THE BROKENWOOD MYSTERIES”: SERIES 2 (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): Neill Rea, Fern Sutherland and Nic Sampson are back on the case, investigating crimes in the small but secretive New Zealand town of the title, in all four feature-length episodes from the 2016 season of the popular New Zealand crime series, available on DVD and Blu-ray (each $59.99 retail).
BROMANCE (TLA Releasing): Sexual tensions escalate when four friends go on a camping trip to a secluded Argentinian beach in writer/director Lucas Satna Ana’s debut feature (originally titled Como una novia sin sexo). In Spanish with English subtitles, available on DVD ($24.99 retail).
BUBBA THE REDNECK WEREWOLF (And You Entertainment/MVD Entertainment Group): Writer/producer/director Brendan Jackson Rogers’ campy, award-winning horror spoof stars Chris Stephens in the title role, a beer-swilling blue-collar dog-catcher cursed with lycanthropy, based on the cult comic-book series. Fred Lass plays Bubba as a werewolf, and Mitch Hyman bids fair to steal the show as a grinning, red-faced Devil. Cult status is likely. **½
CINEMA PARADISO (Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment Group): A special-edition, two-disc Blu-ray ($39.95 retail) of Giuseppe Tornatore’s lovely, evocative 1988 drama (originally titled Nuovo Cinema Paradiso) detailing the profound friendship between a middle-aged projectionist (Philippe Noiret) and a young boy (played by newcomers Salvatore Cascio and Marco Leonardi as a youth) who would later become a renowned filmmaker (Jacques Perrin as an adult). Academy Award winner as Best Foreign Language Film. This includes both the theatrical version and Tornatore’s director’s cut, as well as audio commentary, retrospective interviews and more. In Italian with English subtitles. Rated R. ***½
THE CREEPING GARDEN (Arrow Academy/MVD Entertainment Group): Director/editor Tim Grabham and first-time producer/director Jasper Sharp’s documentary feature follows a group of scientists who explore plasmodial slime mould, available in a DVD/Blu-ray/CD special-edition combo ($29.95 retail).
ELLE (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Paul Verhoeven’s chilling psychological thriller stars Isabelle Huppert in the title role of a high-powered businesswoman who concocts a complex scheme to avenge a brutal rape. Remarkably, this marked Huppert’s very first Academy Award nomination (as Best Actress) and she again delivers a peerless turn. In French with English subtitles, available on DVD ($25.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($30.99 retail). Rated R. ***½
FIRE AT SEA (Kino Lorber): Filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi turns his cameras on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, one of the major ports in the ongoing European migrant crisis, for this award-winning documentary (originally titled Fuocommare) that earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Documentary Feature. In Italian with English subtitles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.95 retail).
FRANCESCA (Unearthed Films/MVD Entertainment Group): Style trumps substance in sibling filmmakers Luciano and Nicolas Onetti’s award-winning mystery thriller starring Luis Emilio Rodriguez and Gustavo D’Allesandro as homicide detectives investigating the 15-year-old case inolving the disappearance of the title character, which is tied to a series of gruesome murders and somehow inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. Steeped in giallo trappings, which should delight genre fans. In Italian with English subtitles. **½
“INSECURE”: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (HBO): Best friends Issa Rae (also series creator and writer) and Yvonne Orji wend their way through life in Los Angeles in all eight episodes from the inaugural 2016 season of the award-winning HBO comedy series based on Rae’s web series “Awkward Black Girl,” available on DVD ($19.98 retail) and Blu-ray ($24.98 retail).
“JACK TAYLOR”: SET 3 (RLJ Entertainment/Acorn): Iain Glen returns in the title role of the hard-bitten ex-cop-turned-private investigator who tackles the toughest cases in the Irish province of Galway, in all three feature-length episodes (“Cross,” “Headstone” and “Purgatory”) from the 2016 season of the popular mystery series based on Ken Bruen’s best-selling novels, available in a three-DVD collection ($49.99 retail).
JULIETA (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): The latest, award-winning drama from Pedro Almodovar, based on Alice Munro’s short stories, stars Emma Suarez and Adriana Ugarte as the older and younger versions of the title character, who looks back on her life and the mistakes she made – which led to a long estrangement from her daughter. In Spanish with English subtitles, available on DVD ($26.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($30.99 retail). Rated R. ***
MULTIPLE MANIACS (The Criterion Collection): Filmed in beautiful Baltimore on a reported budget of $5,000, John Waters’ typically bizarro 1970 black comedy (originally rated X!) stars the one and only Divine (Harris Glenn Milstead) as a deranged con artist at large, with Waters regulars Mink Stone, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Cookie Mueller and the inimitable Edith Massey also on hand. Definitely not for all tastes – this is the film where Divine is sexually assaulted by a giant lobster at the climax – but oddly endearing and still proudly boasting its cult credentials. The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $39.95. Special features include audio commentary, retrospective interviews and more. **½
STEVIE RAY VAUGHN – 1984-1989: LONESTAR (Sexy Intellectual/MVD Entertainment Group): Filmmaker Tom O’Dell follows his 2014 documentary Rise of a Texas Bluesman — Stevie Ray Vaughan: 1954-1983 with this (almost overly) detailed chronicle of the legendary, Grammy-winning musician’s final years, ending with his tragic death at age 35 at the peak of his career in 1990 – which the actual onscreen title gets right. **½
SUBTERRANEA (Birdman Films/MVD Entertainment Group): Writer/editor/producer/director Matthew Miller’s award-winning feature debut is low-budget, existential sci-fi thriller with Bug Hall as a young man suddenly released to the world having spent his entire life in confinement, based on the concept album by IQ. Evocative and not without interest, but slow-moving and murky. **
TUPAC – ASSASSINATION: BATTLE FOR COMPTON (Martin Productions/MVD Entertainment Group): This self-explanatory documentary feature examines the circumstances surrounding the murders of hip-hop legends Tupac Shakur and Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace within months of each other, available on DVD ($9.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($19.95 retail).
(Mark Burger can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. Copyright 2017, Mark Burger) HYPERLINK “mailto:email@example.com”firstname.lastname@example.org