Video Vault – Oct 23, 2019
MARK BURGER’S VIDEO VAULT
PICK OF THE WEEK
RIDER ON THE RAIN (Kino Lorber Studio Classics): “Evil does not die. It simply waits …to be re-born.” Ain’t it the truth?
That was the poster tag-line for this admittedly goofy, critically lambasted, but delightfully resilient 1978 adaptation of Graham Masterson’s best-selling novel, which marked the final film of cult filmmaker extraordinaire William Girdler (Abby, Grizzly, and the unforgettable – and unwatchable – Three on a Meathook), who tragically died in a helicopter crash shortly before its release.
Both the DVD ($19.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.95 retail) include both American and French theatrical versions, audio commentary, theatrical trailers, and radio spot. Rated PG-13. ***½
“42ND STREET FOREVER: THE PEEP SHOW COLLECTION” (Impulse Pictures/Synapse Films/CAV Distributing): A collection of vintage 8mm adult “loops” from the 1970s and ’80s, featuring some of the most popular stars of the genre, including Annette Haven, Samantha Fox, Ron Jeremy, Linda Shaw, Vanessa del Rio, and John Holmes. “Volume 32,” “Volume 33,” and “Volume 34” each retail on DVD for $24.95.
900 DAYS (Icarus Films Home Video): Director Jessica Gorter’s award-winning 2011 feature documentary (originally titled 900 Dagen) recounts the Siege at Leningrad during World War II as recalled by those who survived it, which frequently contradicts the “official” version of the facts as stated by the Russian government. Depressing but thoughtful, as well as thought-provoking. In Russian with English subtitles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail). ***
ALL MALE, ALL NUDE: JOHNSONS (Breaking Glass Pictures): Actor-turned-writer/producer/director Gerald McCullouch’s self-explanatory follow-up to his 2017 documentary All Male, All Nude, delves into the history of Florida’s popular gay strip club Johnsons, available on DVD ($19.99 retail), replete with bonus features.
ANGEL OF MINE (LionsGate): Noomi Rapace stars in this R-rated remake of the 2008 French thriller Mark of an Angel as a disturbed woman who becomes obsessed with the young daughter of neighbor Yvonne Strahovski, available on DVD ($19.98 retail) and Bly-ray ($21.99 retail), each with bonus features.
ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE: WE ARE THE LEAGUE (Cleopatra Entertainment/MVD Entertainment Group): George Hencken directed this music documentary tracing the history of the popular British punk band, founded in 1979 by lead singer “Animal” (Nick Culmer), guitarist “Magoo” (Chris Exall), percussionist “Bones” (Tony Shaw), and bass guitarist Chris Elvy. The special-edition DVD/CD combo ($19.95 retail) includes additional interviews.
AYITI MON AMOUR (IndiePix Films): Documentary filmmaker Guetty Felin’s 2016 narrative feature debut (also released as Haiti My Love) follows a disparate group of characters whose lives intertwine in Haiti as they maintain a struggle to survive five years after the devastating earthquake, filmed on location with local actors and crew. In French, Haitian Creole, and Japanese with English subtitles, available on DVD ($19.95 retail).
“BAKUGAN: BATTLE PLANET – ORIGIN OF SPECIES” (Cartoon Network/Warner Bros. Home Entertainment): A DVD selection ($14.99 retail) of all 13 episodes from the inaugural 2018-’19 season of the sci-fi fantasy series, broadcast on Netflix, detailing the adventures of young hero Dan Kouzo (voiced by Jonah Wineberg) and his friends as they battle alien menaces to mankind.
BATHROOM STALLS & PARKING LOTS (Breaking Glass Pictures): Leading man Thales Correa makes his feature debut as co-writer, editor, producer, and director of this award-winning comedy/drama in which he plays a bi-sexual Brazilian immigrant who embarks on a hedonistic spree in San Francisco’s Castro Street district, available on DVD ($24.99 retail), replete with special features including cast and crew interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes, and more.
DIAMANTINO (Kino Lorber): Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt co-wrote, co-edited, and co-directed this award-winning comedy/fantasy stars Carloto Cotto in the title role of a superstar athlete who embarks on a surreal journey of self-discovery after his career ends in disgrace. In Portuguese with English subtitles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.95 retail).
DRIVE ME HOME (Breaking Glass Pictures): Writer/director Simone Catania’s drama stars Marco D’Amore and Vinicio Marchioni as childhood friends who reassess their friendship – and their lives apart – when they are reunited as adults. In Italian with English subtitles, available on DVD ($19.99 retail).
FIND ME GUILTY (MVD Entertainment Group): Vin Diesel, in an entertainingly showy turn, portrays real-life mobster Jackie DiNorscio in Sidney Lumet’s fact-based, light-hearted 2006 courtroom romp, detailing the high-profile trial in which DiNorscio, despite having no legal experience, opted to defend himself. Uneven but ingratiating, with an engaging cast including Peter Dinklage, Ron Silver, Alex Rocco, Annabella Sciorra, Linus Roache, and Richard Portnow. The “MVD Marquee Collection” Blu-ray ($29.95 retail) includes featurette, theatrical trailer, and more. Rated R. **½
“GUNSMOKE”: THE FIFTEENTH SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount): James Arness saddles up again as Dodge City’s tough marshal Matt Dillon, in all 26 episodes from the 1969-’70 season of the long-running, award-winning CBS Western series created by Charles Marquis Warren, with series regulars Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone, and Ken Curtis joined by guest stars Jodie Foster, Ron Howard, Hal Needham, Eileen Heckart, and more. Emmy winner for Outstanding Achievement in Film Sound Editing (the last Emmy the series would win). “Volume One” ($45.98 retail) contains the first 13 episodes on DVD and “Volume Two” ($45.98 retail) the remaining 13.
THE HEIRESSES (Distrib Films/Icarus Films Home Video): Marcelo Martinessi’s award-winning narrative feature debut (originally titled Las herederas) stars Ana Brun (in her screen debut) and Margarita Irun as longtime companions forced to confront the realities of their relationship when financial need forces them to sell off their prized possessions in order to survive. In Spanish with English subtitles, available on DVD ($26.98 retail).
IN CELEBRATION (Kino Classics): Having directed the original Royal Court stage production in 1969, Lindsay Anderson’s 1975 adaptation of David Storey’s acclaimed play (scripted by the author) focuses on a couple’s 40th anniversary in a Yorkshire mining town, and the arrival of their three sons – each bringing his own emotional baggage, past and present. The fine ensemble cast encored from the play: Alan Bates, Brian Cox, James Bolam, Bill Owen, Constance Chapman, and Gabrielle Daye. Produced for the American Film Theatre (AFI) series, this doesn’t open up the play much, nor does it need to, as the claustrophobic tension is a principal asset. The Blu-ray ($29.95 retail) includes retrospective interviews, trailer gallery, and more. Rated PG. ***
IN THE AISLES (Music Box Films Home Entertainment): Director/co-screenwriter Thomas Stuber’s award-winning adaptation of a Clemens Meyer short story (originally titled In den Gangen) details the growing attraction at a German supermarke tbetween a soft-spoken new employee (Franz Rogowski) and an unhappily married co-worker (Sandra Huller). In German with English subtitles, available on DVD ($29.95 retail), replete with bonus features.
“JOJO SIWA: SWEET CELEBRATIONS” (Nickelodeon/Paramount): The popular Nickelodeon star and pop singer prepares for a star-studded 16th birthday bash, joined by friends and family, and also appears in six episodes from her animated YouTube series The JoJo & BowBow Show Show, available on DVD ($10.99 retail).
“LIFE WITH LUCY”: THE COMPLETE SERIES (CBS DVD/Paramount): Lucille Ball returned to network television with this ABC situation comedy that cast her as a wealthy widow and grandmother, and reunited her with long-time foil Gale Gordon, but proved a critical and ratings disaster. The two-DVD collection ($49.98 retail) includes all 13 episodes from the 1986 (and only) season, including five which never aired.
“MADAM SECRETARY”: SEASON FIVE (CBS DVD/Paramount): Tea Leoni (also an executive producer) returns as Elizabeth McCord, the U.S. Secretary of State, in all 20 episodes – plus bonus features – from the 2018-’19 season of the CBS political drama created by executive producer Barbara Hall, co-starring Tim Daly, Zeljko Ivanek, Erich Bergen, Patina Miller, Geoffrey Arand and Keith Carradine (as the President), available on DVD ($64.99 retail).
MAIDEN (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment): Alex Holmes produced and directed this award-winning, PG-rated documentary feature that focuses on Tracy Edwards, an ambitious sailor who formed the first all-female sailing crew for the 33,000-mile Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989, available on DVD ($24.99 retail) and Blu-ray ($25.99 retail), each replete with bonus features.
NELLY AND MONSIEUR ARNAUD (Kino Classics): Writer/director Claude Sauter’s award-winning 1995 final feature (originally titled Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud) stars Emmanuelle Beart and Michel Serrault in the title roles, respectively playing a divorced woman and the retired businessman whose memoirs she agrees to type, with Jean-Hugues Anglade, Claire Nadeau, and Michael Lonsdale in support. In French with English subtitles, both the DVD ($19.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($29.95 retail) include audio commentary, booklet essay, and theatrical trailer.
PASOLINI (Kino Lorber): Filmmaker Abel Ferrara’s award-winning, speculative 2014 drama examines the final hours in the life of acclaimed and controversial filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (played by Willem Dafoe), who died under mysterious circumstances in 1975. In English, French, and Italian with English subtitles, both the DVD ($29.95 retail) and Blu-ray ($34.95 retail) include behind-the-scenes documentary, theatrical trailer, and more.
“TELL ME A STORY”: SEASON ONE (CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount Home Entertainment): Executive producer Kevin Williamson created this CBS All Access anthology series that puts a contemporary spin on such beloved fairy tales as Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and The Three Little Pigs set in New York City, encompassing love, loss, greed, revenge, and murder. The ensemble cast includes James Wolk, Billy Magnusson, Dania Ramirez, Dorian Missick, Paul Wesley, Danielle Campbell, and Kim Cattrall. All 10 episodes from the inaugural 2018-’19 season are available in a three-DVD collection ($29.98 retail).
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. (Copyright 2019, Mark Burger)