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That Time of The Week – A Look At the Most Recent DVD & Blu-ray Releases

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Where the hell does the time go?

It seems like just a moment ago we were getting excited for summer and here we are, weeks away before the end of 2016.  This one is packed to the gills, with plenty of fantastic releases and holiday gift ideas.

Remember, fire up that queue and prep that shopping cart.

It’s that time of the season!

 

155452_frontDon’t Breathe
Sony / Released 11/29/16

Rocky, a young woman wanting to start a better life for her and her sister, agrees to take part in the robbery of a house owned by a wealthy blind man with her boyfriend Money and their friend Alex.

But when the blind man turns out to be a more ruthless adversary than he seems, the group must find a way to escape his home before they become his newest victims. Extras include deleted scenes, featurettes and commentary.

Last Word: Fede Alvarez who directed Jane Levy in 2013’s The Evil Dead remake reunite for a well-crafted thriller that ends up tripping over it’s idiotic screenplay.

The film offers little in terms of character and dialogue, but the situation itself has more than enough intensity to make it unique.  Levy’s Rocky is part of a trio of twentysomething thieves; not necessarily entitled, but the lure of easy scores makes the opportunities too good for the struggling robbers.

When robbing blind, ex-military Stephen Lang, who lives in an otherwise abandoned neighborhood, they quickly realize that they are trapped within his home and he does everything he can to stop (or even kill) them before they escape with the film’s McGuffin (a large amount of cash located on the premises).  All of this sounds pretty tense and fun, and it is, until we learn more about what Lang keeps in his locked basement and what he intends to do with it.  I had really high hopes for the film and enjoyed it, but couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed based on the accolades that it had received.  A stronger script in the third act might very well had made it into the film that it deserved to be.

 

154620_frontJason Bourne
Universal / Released 12/6/16

Paul Greengrass, the director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, once again joins Matt Damon for the next chapter of Universal Pictures’ Bourne franchise, which finds the CIA’s most lethal operative drawn out of the shadows.

Damon is joined by Alicia Vikander, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones, while Julia Stiles reprises her role in the series. Extras include featurettes.

Last Word:  “I know who I am. I remember everything.”

“Remembering everything doesn’t mean you know everything”

I think these words from the trailer and the new film, Jason Bourne, are more prophetic than they are meant to be…

Unlike the previous Bourne films, with the exception of the 2012, Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner, they were all based on the three existing spy thriller novels of their respective names written by the late Robert Ludlum.

Paul Greengrass, director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum is back at the helm of the latest installment of the kinetic and frantically shot Jason Bourne series aptly titled Jason Bourne, played by Matt Damon.

However, just because he directed two of the three Bourne films based on books, does not make him a good writer of the Bourne films. Greengrass along with his longtime editor, Christopher Rouse, have penned this film and I must say, they should have left the writing to previous screenwriter Tony Gilroy for the heavy lifting.

Full of cliché tropes like the magic Hollywood government super computer, and having the main character get a generic key from a dying friend who doesn’t tell the main character what it goes to, then having the next shot be the main character at a random bus station and opening the locker full of stuff he needs with said key, Greengrass and Rouse prove that just because you surround yourself with something doesn’t mean you actually understand how it is done.

The basic plot is this: Bourne is “off the grid” living peacefully in Europe minding his own business and occasionally underground fighting to vent off his pent up anger, much like Rambo at the beginning of Rambo III. Someone from his past does something to make it look like he has gone active again and “rogue”. This alerts the US Government who now thinks Bourne is digging up info on the past and is trying to take down the Agency that created him. Not knowing his whereabouts, he is flushed out of hiding only to find out there is something he didn’t know about his past. He must fight the government, avenge the death of his friend, gain the aide of the one person in the agency who believes him and finally take down the old dude running things who wants him dead before Bourne exposes a huge secret.

Sound familiar? THAT IS BECAUSE THAT IS THE PLOT OF ALL THE OTHER BOURNE FILMS.

Jason Bourne’s lack of original plot makes it understandable why for an action-thriller, quasi-spy film I was really bored. Even Damon looked tired. He was as good as expected, but man, did he look tired. How could he not? He was literally doing the same shit he did in all the past films, only this time with a weak ass script.

I think the 20 second shot in Ocean’s Thirteen, that spoofs Damon as Bourne, where Damon’s character in that film, Linus, is talking to Danny Ocean about what he’s found out about the security Computer Willy Banks has installed in his casino, was shot better and was more exciting than all 123 minutes of Jason Bourne.

I hate to say it, but the previously mentioned original story, Bourne Legacy, was not only a much better film than it rightfully deserved to be but it is definitely more entertaining than Jason Bourne.

Greengrass’s signature shaky cam and frantic shooting style coupled with the rapid, almost incomprehensible editing gets even more shaky then in the previous entries of the series; To the point of being nigh unwatchable. The car chases and fight sequences are so rapidly cut and the camera moves so much that you would think that the camera operator was the one actually getting the crap beat out of him or run over.

I really wanted to like this movie. I did. I love the other Bourne movies and kinda had hoped that Greengrass and crew would catch “lightening in a bottle” one more time.

Instead they give us spoon-fed plot devices, tired story ideas, banal dialogue, and such ridiculous things as a god damn encrypted thumb drive with the word “ENCRYPTED” printed on it in Helvetica Bold. Like professionally printed and stamped. Like it was made with that written on the side. Not hand written. E-N-C-R-Y-P-T-E-D. What the hell people?

I think Jason Bourne needs Jason Bourne to come and save him from himself.

Glad they keep using that Moby song though. I never get tired of that.

I hope they reboot this next year with Ben Affleck. (-Benn Robbins)

 

145426_frontThe Secret Life of Pets
Universal / Released 12/6/16

Comedy superstars Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, and Kevin Hart make their animated feature-film debut that finally answers the question: what do your pets do when you’re not home?

When their owners leave for the day, pets from the building gossip with their friends, satisfy their sweet tooths, and throw outrageous parties.

But when a pampered terrier (C.K.) and his unruly new “roommate” from the pound (Stonestreet) get lost in the urban jungle of New York City, they must put aside their differences to survive the epic journey back home.

Extras include 3 mini-movies and featurettes.

Last Word: Chris Renaud, director of Despicable Me series, brings us a fun, well crafted, animated feature that will have adults as well as the kids laughing the whole time.

Max (voiced by stand-up comedian Louis C. K.) is the happiest dog in Manhattan.  He has a great place to live, a ton of friends, and the best owner in the world, Katie (Ellie Kemper).  Everything is perfect.

Enter Duke (Eric Stonestreet), an over-sized, scruff mutt that Katie brings home out of the goodness of her heart.  A heated rivalry for Katie’s affection leads to the two dogs lost in the city, chased alternately by NYC Animal Control and army of renegade animals led by the crazed, fluffy bunny, Snowball (Kevin Hart).  Max and Duke have to learn to work together to escape the pursuing horde and make it back home to their adoring Katie.

Yes, it is a story you have seen before.  Lost dog makes its way back home, or the true love between a dog and his human. Or maybe it’s a classic tale of sibling rivalry. Or the animal revolt against the repression of the humans (Pretty sure you read that one in English class. At least the Cliff’s Notes.) Or it’s about a dangerous, deranged bunny that everyone should fear (See: Monty Python and the Holy Grail).

Actually, it’s all those things in a blender, add ice, hit puree, and Ta-da; delicious animated comedy.

What I am getting at is, it is not the most original story, but the way the story is told is funny and imaginative way.  Kids will be entertained by the funny visuals.  Adults will enjoy the writing and the voice acting. Louis C. K. and Eric Stonestreet put in solid performances as the wayward heroes, but it is the supporting cast that steals the show.  Jenny Slater is perfect as the pretty-princess, Pomeranian, Gidget, who leads the rescue part of motley characters; Chloe (Lake Bell) the self-center cat, Buddy the Weiner Dog and Mel the Pug the slightly dim, but loyal friends, and deadly-yet tamed Tiberius the Hawk (Albert Brooks).

Kevin Hart’s super cute Snowball is the the kind of unhinged crazy that plays fantastic on screen, and you would back away very, very slowly in real life.  The laughs are in the supporting cast.  The film would be banal without them.

Chris Renaud, his writers, and the rest of the folks at Illumination Studios are great at pushing the boundaries of the cookie cutter kids genre.  There are a couple of scenes in the film that border on surrealism.  The kids will laugh because the dogs and cats are doing funny things.  Adults will laugh because the context of the joke is being made for them.  It’s good to see a director and his crew playing with the medium, giving a little something for all the audience.

Illumination has proven itself time and again of being a premier animation studio.  Although The Secret Life of Pets’ animation highly stylized, the animation is skillful and fluid.  The animals may look cartoonish, but they still read as alive, which I feel is the goal of any animator.  The animators of The Secret Life of Pets succeeded.

And as soon as it’s over, snuggle your dog.  (– Elizabeth Robbins)

 

163994_frontNine Lives
20th Century Fox/ Released 11/1/16

Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a daredevil billionaire at the top of his game. His eponymous company FireBrand is nearing completion on its greatest achievement to date – the tallest skyscraper in the northern hemisphere. But Tom’s workaholic lifestyle has disconnected him from his family, particularly his beautiful wife Lara (Jennifer Garner) and his adoring daughter Rebecca (Malina Weissman).

Rebecca’s 11th birthday is here, and she wants the gift she wants every year, a cat. Tom hates cats, but he is without a gift and time is running out. His GPS directs him to a mystical pet store brimming with odd and exotic cats- where the store’s eccentric owner- Felix Perkins (Christopher Walken), presents him with a majestic tomcat, named Mr. Fuzzypants.

En route to his daughter’s party, Tom has a terrible accident. When he regains consciousness he discovers that somehow, he has become trapped inside the body of the cat. Adopted by his own family, he begins to experience what life is truly like for the family pet, and as a cat, Tom begins to see his family and his life through a new and unexpected perspective.

Meanwhile, his family adjusts to life with an odd and stubborn cat, and his son David (Robbie Amell), steps up in ways Tom never expected. If any hope exists of returning to his family as the husband and father they deserve, Tom will have to learn why he has been placed in this peculiar situation and the great lengths he must go to earn back his human existence. Extras include featurettes.

 

145430_frontStar Trek Beyond
Paramount / Released 11/1/16

Star Trek Beyond, the latest installment in the globally popular Star Trek franchise, created by Gene Roddenberry and reintroduced by J.J. Abrams in 2009, returns with director Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious franchise) at the helm of this epic voyage of the U.S.S. Enterprise and her intrepid crew.

Dispatched on a rescue mission to the farthest reaches of space, the Enterprise crew encounters a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

A surprise attack in outer space forces the Enterprise to crash-land on a mysterious world. The assault came from Krall (Idris Elba), a lizard-like dictator who derives his energy by sucking the life out of his victims.

Krall needs an ancient and valuable artifact that’s aboard the badly damaged starship. On the uncharted planet, Captain Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the crew are separated with no means of escape. Only Jaylah, a rebellious alien warrior, can help them reunite and find a way off the planet in a race against time to stop Krall’s deadly army from triggering all-out galactic war while trying to find a way off their hostile planet.  Extras include deleted scenes, featurettes and a tribute to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin.

 

159607_frontOutlander Season 2
Sony / Released 11/1/16

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) arrive in France, hellbent on infiltrating the Jacobite rebellion led by Prince Charles Stuart (Andrew Gower) and stopping the battle of Culloden.

With the help of Jamies cousin Jared (Robert Cavanah), they are thrown into the lavish world of French society, where intrigue and parties are abundant but political gain proves far less fruitful.

Altering the course of history presents challenges that begin to weigh on the very fabric of their relationship but, armed with the knowledge of what lies ahead, Claire and Jamie must race to prevent a doomed Highland uprising and the extinction of Scottish life as they know it.

Extras include extended episode, featurettes, alternate scene, podcasts, deleted and extended scenes, and gag reel.

Includes the episodes:

  • Through A Glass, Darkly: Returning to her own time, Claire must reconcile her future with the life she left behind. Shifting back to 18th century, Jamie, Claire and Murtagh arrive in France, but learn that Paris presents its own challenges.
  • Not In Scotland Anymore: Life in Paris is not without its trials as Jamie struggles to triumph over his past. A fortunate meeting with Prince Charles presents opportunities, while the Duke of Sandringham’s presence brings complications.
  • Useful Occupations and Deceptions: Jamie’s days and nights are dominated by political machinations, while Claire finds solace in her healing skills. As their plan to stop Culloden progresses, the past threatens to derail their forward momentum.
  • La Dame Blanche: Claire and Jamie throw a dinner party to derail investors in Prince Charles’ war effort. Meanwhile, Claire’s revelation that Jack Randall is alive sparks Jamie in an unexpected way as he and Claire struggle.
  • Untimely Resurrection: Reunited, Jamie and Claire attempt to extinguish the fires; however, Claire is set off on an unexpected change of course. Jamie and Claire’s relationship is put to the ultimate test when the past rears its ugly head.
  • Best Laid Schemes…: Jamie and Claire use Claire’s medical knowledge to devise a scheme to stop a deal which could fill the war chest. When Claire learns Jamie has gone back on his word, the couple is met with dire consequences.
  • Faith: Claire is brought to L’Hopital Des Anges where doctors try to save her life and that of her unborn baby. King Louis asks Claire to judge two men accused of practicing the dark arts – one an enemy, one a friend.
  • The Fox’s Lair: Claire and Jamie call upon Jamie’s grandsire, Lord Lovat, in an attempt to elicit support. However, a visiting Colum MacKenzie has other plans, and Lord Lovat’s manipulations ensure that his own interests will be served.
  • Je Suis Prest: Claire and Jamie reunite with the Lallybroch and MacKenzie men as they train. Jamie’s power struggle and Claire’s personal battle weigh upon them, but new information comes when an Englishman pays a visit to their camp.
  • Prestonpans: Trusting in Claire’s knowledge of “history,” Jamie leads the Jacobite army into a critical battle with British opposition. Meanwhile, Claire attends to the dead and dying, a reminder of the truest cost of war.
  • Vengeance Is Mine: Claire and the Highlanders are sent north after the Jacobite leaders decide to halt their march on London. A band of redcoats makes trouble for the Scots, leading to a most unexpected reunion for Claire.
  • The Hail Mary: As Jamie puts all of his efforts into turning the Jacobite army away from the impending slaughter, Claire attempts to comfort the sick Alex Randall. Alex reveals an outrageous plan to save the mother of his child.
  • Dragonfly In Amber: Flashing forward, Claire revisits the past and reveals to her daughter, Brianna, the truth. Back in the 18th century, the Battle of Culloden has arrived, and Jamie must do everything he can to save the ones he loves.

 

161049_frontBad Moms
Universal / Released 11/1/16

In this outrageous comedy from the writers of The Hangover, Amy (Mila Kunis) has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career.

However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap.

Fed up, she joins up with two other over-stressed moms (Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn) on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her clique of devoted perfect moms (Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo).

Extras include deleted scenes, gag reel and interviews with the cast and their mothers.

 

163671_frontHell on Wheels Season 5 Volume 2
Entertainment One / Released 11/1/16

The last seven episodes of Hell on Wheels is the end of the line for Cullen Bohammon (Anson Mount) and his work on American’s first transcontinental railroad.

The final push to finish the road brings with it a reckoning for Bohamnon and the men standing in his path: the bloodthirsty Swede; the mercenary Chang, and the rapacious Thomas Durant. Cullen Contends with corruption, greed and murder as he leads the Central Pacific through the Sierras and across the Utah desert to Promontory Point.

While the railroad’s completion is certain, who and what will survive the golden spike remains in question – with no one more at risk Cullen Bohannon. Extras include featurettes.

Includes the episodes:

  • Two Soldiers: The Swede’s murderous rampage on the Hatch homestead resulting in a long overdue showdown with Cullen.
  • Return to the Garden: Cullen faces life-changing decisions in Utah as Truckee adapts to life without him.
  • 61 Degrees: Cullen’s nitroglycerin experiment provides an explosive backdrop for the railroad life in Truckee.
  • Gambit: Mickey’s dirty business with Durant leaves him with blood on his hands.
  • Any Sum Within Reason: Chang discovers Mei’s secret and forces her to flee Truckee.
  • Railroad Men: The race to finish the railroad comes down to inches, forcing all parties to contemplate the end of the line, and what the future holds for them.
  • Done: The golden spike, government hearings, and unpredictable actions mean new beginnings and endings for the survivors of Hell on Wheels.

 

156754_frontThe Sea Of Trees
Lionsgate/ Released 11/1/16

From director Gus Van Sant, The Sea Of Trees follows Arthur Brennan (Matthew McConaughey) trekking into Aokigahara, known as the Sea of Trees, a mysterious dense forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji where people go to contemplate life and death.

Having found the perfect place to die, Arthur encounters Takumi Nakamura (Ken Watanabe), a Japanese man who has also lost his way.

The two men begin a journey of reflection and survival, which affirms Arthur’s will to live and reconnects him to his love with his wife (Naomi Watts).

Extras include featurette.

 

162636_frontImperium
Lionsgate / Released 11/1/16

Nate Foster (Daniel Radcliffe), a young, idealistic FBI agent, goes undercover to take down a radical right-wing terrorist group.

The bright up-and-coming analyst must confront the challenge of sticking to a new identity while maintaining his real principles as he navigates the dangerous underworld of white supremacy.

Inspired by real events, Imperium stars Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette, Tracy Letts, with Nestor Carbonell, Burn Gorman and Sam Trammell.

Extras include commentary, featurettes, interviews and trailers.

 

 

161558_frontGypsy
Shout! Factory / Released 11/1/16

One of Broadway’s biggest smashes comes to life in 2015’s stunning West End production of Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne, and Stephen Sondheim’s eternally appealing musical, Gypsy.

Loosely based on the memoirs of world-renowned striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee, Gypsy follows the journey of the irrepressible Rose (Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake), the mother to end all stage mothers, as she balances the challenges of parenthood with the joys and heartbreaks of a life in the world of show business. Featuring a collection of songs that have grown to become American standards, including “Together (Wherever We Go),” “Some People,” “Let Me Entertain You,” and “Everything’s Comin’ Up Roses,” Gypsy is a true treasure of musical theatre.

 

 

166374_frontLeonard Bernstein’s Candide In Concert
Shout! Factory / Released 11/1/16

Leonard Bernstein’s fantastically funny operetta springs to life in this concert production of Candide.

Based on Voltaire’s classic tale of an innocent young man’s comic odyssey, Candide is a colorful and catchy delight, featuring Tony Award-winners Patti LuPone and Kristin Chenoweth along with a top-notch cast including Paul Groves, Janine LaManna, Sir Thomas Allen and the Westminster Symphonic Choir.

With Bernstein’s impeccable hand behind the music and a parade of legendary lyricists – including Dorothy Parker, Stephen Sondheim, and Lillian Hellman – this musical comedy classic is essential for all fans of the Great White Way!

 

 

unnamedDeep Web
Kino Lorber / Released 11/1/16

Deep Web gives the inside story of one of the most important and riveting digital crime sagas of the century — the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht, the entrepreneur convicted of being “Dread Pirate Roberts,” creator and operator of online black market Silk Road.

As the only film with exclusive access to the Ulbricht family, Deep Web explores how the brightest minds and thought leaders behind the Deep Web and Bitcoin are now caught in the crosshairs of the battle for control of a future inextricably linked to technology, with our digital rights hanging in the balance.

From director Alex Winter (Downloaded) and producers Glen Zipper and Marc Schiller.

 

 

162280_frontUncle Nick
Dark Sky Film / Released 11/1/16

Lewd, drunken Uncle Nick (Brian Posehn) stumbles his way through his brother’s cookie cutter-family’s annual Christmas gathering in the hopes of scoring with a super-hot party guest.

But the arrival of his equally crass sister coupled with Nick’s liquor-fueled faux pas cause family secrets to bubble to the surface that might spell disaster for the whole clan before the night is over.

Oh, and that super-hot guest just happens to be Nick’s brother’s stepdaughter (Melia Renee)!

Presented by executive producer Errol Morris, Oscar winner for The Fog of War, Uncle Nick is a raucously funny comedy of inappropriate behavior, uncomfortably interrupted trysts, and a monumental overserving of 10-cent beers.

Also starring in this hilarious romp are Scott Adsit, Missi Pyle, Beau Ballinger and Paget Brewster. Extras include commentary, outtakes, featurettes and trailers.

Last Word: Spending Christmas with family can be hard, but when you are a bitter middle-aged alcoholic and are spending Christmas with your younger brother Cody’s seemingly perfect family, it may be unbearable.

Nick arrives at his Cody’s house intent on smoking and drinking his way through the holiday and hooking up with his brother’s twenty-year-old stepdaughter but over the course of the evening he realizes that everything isn’t as perfect as it seems.

As Nick narrates his holiday night via the analogy of the failed 1974 Cleveland Indians “Ten Cent Beer Night” fiasco we see that the arrival Nick and Cody’s sister and her husband appears to balance the mood of the group and just when we think that evening may take a positive turn it comes time to exchange gifts…

Uncle Nick is a darkly comic tale with an undercurrent of emotion and a mean streak that all combine to form a powerful character driven story.

Written and directed by first time feature filmmakers, Mike Demski and Chris Kasick respectively, Uncle Nick almost certainly could have devolved in to a bottom of the barrel gross out comedy but is imbued with a wealth of character development and genuine human flaws that make it both memorable and relatable.

Brian Posehn is fantastic as the titular Nick, while Paget Brewster as Cody’s wife Sophie and Missi Pyle as Nick and Cody’s sister Michelle both turn in strong memorable performances.

Over all Uncle Nick is a great antidote to the sickly sweet sappy holiday fare that we are force fed this time of year. If you are in the mood for a quality indie comedy with a jaded sense of humor then be sure to check out visit Uncle Nick this holiday season. (– Joshua Gravel)

 

161468_frontSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street In Concert
Shout! Factory  / Released 11/1/16

Stephen Sondheim’s macabre musical masterpiece, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, receives one bloody delicious production in this 2001 concert presentation of Broadway’s black-humored thriller of revenge, razors, murder, and meat pies.

Returning to Victorian London after a long exile, the unhinged barber Sweeney Todd seeks violent vengeance on the unscrupulous judge who separated him from his family, freedom… and sanity.

Teaming with the Sweeney-smitten, pie-making Mrs. Lovett, Todd reopens his tonsorial parlor to lure the judge in… and then practice his murderous desires on the throats of Fleet Street’s citizenry!

Broadway legend Patti LuPone (TV’s Penny Dreadful), Tony Award winner George Hearn, and Neil Patrick Harris headline this special concert presentation of one of the theatre’s tastiest triumphs.

 

product_images_modal_drstrange-dvd-cover-72dpi__7b61d28b94-bb1a-4ce8-8c88-cb6981b33a18_7dDr. Strange
Shout! Factory / Released 11/1/16

Enter a world filled with sorcerers, powerful supernatural forces and bizarre enchantments as the famed Marvel Comics superhero Dr. Strange comes to life to battle the forces of evil.

A modern hospital may seem worlds apart from the days of ancient sorcerers. But for psychiatrist Stephen Strange (Peter Hooten) and his patient Clea Lake (Eddie Benton), this is where those worlds collide… and the nightmare begins!

Nothing Stephen Strange learned in medical school could prepare him for an attack by an evil sorceress from the “fourth dimension,” Morgan le Fay (Jessica Walter), a villainess who plans an invasion of unimaginable evil on Earth.

Chosen by an ancient guardian of the spirit world to learn the mystic arts to defeat Morgan and safeguard the Earth, Stephen Strange must take the place of the Earth’s last sorcerer.

Originally conceived as a backdoor pilot for a proposed television series and newly remastered from the original film elements, Dr. Strange also stars Clyde Kusatsu,  Philip Sterling and Sir John Mills as Lindmer, Dr. Strange’s mentor and the original “Sorcerer Supreme.”

 

buildingtrekBuilding Star Trek
PBS / Released 11/1/16

When Star Trek debuted on September 8, 1966, the world was introduced to a number of alien concepts, such as hand-held communication devices, desktop computers, space shuttles, touch screens, and more.

Star Trek’s visionary creator Gene Roddenberry conceived of a world so unique that the series would go on to have a profound legacy in television history.

Building Star Trek follows the conservation team from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, led by Dr. Margaret Weitekamp, as they attempt to restore and conserve the original 11-foot, 250-pound model of the U.S.S. Enterprise from the original series. The program also tracks the progress of Brooks Peck, the charismatic curator of Seattle’s EMP Museum, as he attempts to rebuild a model of the original U.S.S. Enterprise’s bridge by using authentic set pieces and props.

The program also profiles a new generation of engineers and scientists who are making Star Trek’s visionary technology real, pushing the boundaries of physics with inventions first conceived on the iconic series: warp drives, medical tricorders, cloaking devices and tractor beams. Proving that one TV show has truly gone where no man has gone before, the program showcases clips from the original series that highlight each scientific innovation as well as recent technologies inspired by the series, such as flip phones and touch screens. Featuring Star Trek legend Nichelle Nichols and Star Trek movie series stars Simon Pegg and Karl Urban

 

912fj7cswil-_sl1500_50 Years of Star Trek
Lionsgate / Released 11/1/16

America has been fascinated by Star Trek since it first aired in September 1966.

50 Years of Star Trek celebrates the franchise’s 50th anniversary through interviews with cast and crewmembers from every television series and original films.

This feature-length special goes behind the scenes of the classic franchise with cast and crew interviews, rare archival footage, and the last full interview filmed with the unforgettable Leonard Nimoy, known for his treasured role as Spock.

A must-see for fans of the TV shows, movies, books, and games alike

 

 

bsBody Snatchers
Warner Archive/ Released 11/1/16

Don’t sleep. Don’t ever sleep. That’s when it happens. That’s when tentacles leave the alien pod and enter your ears and nostrils. Soon you’re not you anymore. You’ve been taken over, a victim of Body Snatchers.

A science-fiction classic gets an eerie, modern update in this spellbinder inspired by 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and from the producer of the 1978 remake.

Advances in screen special effects now enable director Abel Ferrara (King of New York, Bad Lieutenant ) and his crew of wizards to depict the actual birthing of a pod – and its devastating effect on the human host.

Who says there’s no rest for the wicked?

As stars Gabrielle Anwar, Terry Kinney, Forest Whitaker and Meg Tilly discover, no one rests when the only way to sleep is to keep one eye open. And one foot out the door. Extras include trailer.

 

 

719gk0ijw8l-_sl1500_The IT Crowd: The Complete Series
MPI/ Released 11/1/16

In the squalid basement of Reynholm Industries lies the company’s IT department, staffed by bitter slacker Roy (Chris O’Dowd), uber-nerd Moss (Richard Ayoade) and technically clueless middle manager Jen (Katherine Parkinson).

Among the bizarre situations the three find themselves in are befriending a cannibal, designing the ultimate bra and creating a charity calendar of topless nerds.

As they work tirelessly to solve the most mundane of technical issues and navigate the corporate landscape, they must also troubleshoot their own uniquely unusual personal lives.

 

For the first time, all four seasons of the Emmy Award-winning comedy series and the never-before-released final episode are collected in one complete 5-disc set.

Includes the episodes:

  • Yesterday’s Jam: Jen starts at Reynholm industries as the IT Manager. But it turns out she dosen’t know anything about computers.
  • Calamity Jen: Denholm invites a Stressexpert when he starts war against stress. Jen have a shoe problem which have a serious effect.
  • Fifty-Fifty: When Roy gets dumped after a date, he starts believing that girls go for “bad boys” and creates a fake profile on a dating site and, surprisingly, gets a response. Meanwhile, Jen starts flirting with a security guard.
  • The Red Door: Moss put a picture of his head on his cup, but it gets lost. Jen becomes curious about the red door behind Roys desk. When Roy and Moss is gone, she goes in the room and finds Richmond.
  • The Haunting of Bill Crouse: Jen goes on a bad date with a coworker. She doesn’t want to talk to him so she tells Moss to lie to him. Moss tells him that Jen is dead.
  • Aunt Irma Visits: Jen has her period and she sees the same symptom with Roy and Moss. They say that it’s no way that that’s possible but they reconsider the possibility. They even get their own website.
  • 
The Work Outing: Roy, Moss and Jen gets invited to the theatre and it dosen’t turn out so good
  • Return of the Golden Child: Denholm dies and they have to go to the funeral and Roy is worried about dying.
  • Moss and the German: Jen complains that Roy and Moss spend too much time together, so Moss takes a German cooking class.
  • The Dinner Party: Jen has met someone normal, and plans for a nice dinner party go astray unless Jen invites her workmates at said dinner party.
  • Smoke and Mirrors: Moss invents something to help Jen with an issue she has, and this invention is an opportunity for enterprise.
  • Men Without Women: Jen gets a promotion to be Douglas PA and Roy and Moss miss her.
  • From Hell: After Roy goes to Jen’s house to retrieve £5, he sees Jen’s builder who he recognises as a Builder from Hell. This convinces Jen to keep an eye on him, so he doesn’t urinate in her sinks. On his way to work, Moss is harassed by a group of teenagers so he gets lessons on how to stand up to them from Roy.
  • Are We Not Men?: A new football translation website allows Moss and Roy to speak like cockney football fans, and they decide to use the service to get some new friends (who are real men) in a pub. They easily make friends by lying about football related topics they know nothing about. Meanwhile, Jen is having trouble on a date with a man who looks and acts like a stage magician. Later on, Roy unsuspectingly helps a robbery which his ‘new friends’ commit.
  • Tramps like Us: Following a disappointing settlement to a sexual harassment lawsuit, Jen interviews for a new job where she is asked what IT stands for, Roy ends up on the streets after a series of unfortunate events at work (and manages to crash a minute of silence for the dead colleague), Moss gets slightly concussed and Douglas has problems with his sexy electrical undies.
  • The Speech: After winning Reynholm Industries’ Employee of the Month, Jen finds herself less than inspired to write the acceptance speech she must present at the weekly shareholders’ meeting on Friday. When she turns to Roy and Moss for help, they see a prime opportunity to humiliate Jen in retaliation for winning the award even though “to a casual observer it would appear that (she does) very little,” and present her with a visual aid, on loan from the top of Big Ben (“that’s where you get the best reception”) and completely de-magnetized by Stephen Hawking himself: “The Internet.”
  • Friendface: A new social networking website known as Friendface starts up and Roy, Moss and Jen become members. This slowly becomes an obsession when Jen is invited online to a school reunion and Roy meets his old girlfriend. In an attempt to “big herself up”, Jen bribes Moss to act as her husband during the party. Meanwhile Roy, unable to find an easy way to tell his ex that he is no longer attracted to her, tells her he has since fallen in love with Jen and offers to meet her. When he discovers that Moss is already playing the part of Jen’s husband both men leave.
  • Calendar Geeks: The girls of seventh floor have the idea of making a nude calendar as a fundraiser for the victims of bosseyedness and Roy is chosen to be the photographer. The idea offends Jen, so she persuades the girls to do a nude calendar of elderly women instead. When Douglas makes her responsible for making at least a million pounds with the calendar she wants to return to the original idea. However, the women of the seventh floor have already been dissuaded from the idea by Jen’s philosophy so Roy has to trick his stereotypical science geek friends into performing “sexy” poses.
  • Jen the Fredo: Jen wants to stretch herself in the workplace, and applies for the post of Entertainment Manager. When she finds out that amusing Douglas’ business connections has its darker side however, she has to turn to Moss and Roy for help.
  • The Final Countdown: Moss becomes a celebrity by beating all records on a popular puzzle show…at the other end of human life Roy is mistaken for a window cleaner, while Jen is pre-occupied with Douglas’ secret meetings with lots of women in fluffy dressing gowns.
  • Something Happened: Douglas becomes a Spaceologist, Roy’s life is changed by a bad back, and Jen gets involved with a rock band.
  • Italian for Beginners: Roy gets obsessed by his latest girlfriend’s sad family history, and Jen tells an absolute whopper to get some attention.
  • Bad Boys: Roy and Moss become juvenile delinquents for the day and have an uncomfortable experience at a shopping centre.
  • Reynholm vs Reynholm: Douglas finds marriage agrees with him – for all of two weeks. He finds himself in court – defending himself – with the help of Jen, Roy and Moss and others.
  • The Internet is Coming!: Jen and Roy go viral over some spilt coffee, whilst Moss learns the secret of success and Douglas discovers how the 99% live.

 

162010_frontSausage Party
Sony / Released 11/8/16

Directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, Sausage Party follows a hot dog named Frank (voiced by Seth Rogan) who falls out of a shopping cart, and embarks on an eventful journey to make it back to his shelf before the big Fourth of July sale.

Along the way, Frank ends up leading a group of supermarket products on a quest to discover the truth about their existence and what really happens when they become chosen to leave the grocery store.

Cast includes Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek and Harland Williams.

Extras include featurettes and gag reel.

 

134860_frontBlack Sails: Season 3
Starz/Anchor Bay / Released 11/8/16

In the wake of the burning of Charles Town, all the New World lives in fear of Captain Flint. But when his campaign of terror crosses over into madness, and new threats emerge to challenge his supremacy, it falls to John Silver to locate the man within the monster, before Flint’s war against the world consumes them all.

Meanwhile, on the pirate island of Nassau, it’s a new day. With Eleanor Guthrie facing judgment in London, Jack Rackham sits atop a fortune in Spanish gold, hoping to secure his legacy as a king among thieves.

To do so, he’ll have to compete with the return of one of history’s most notorious captains, who holds a different vision for their home, as well as a complicated past with Rackham’s chief ally, Captain Charles Vane.

All will be tested when a new opponent arrives to claim Nassau, one the pirates could never have anticipated. It knows them. It understands them. And in the blink of an eye, it will do the one thing they never thought possible… turn them against each other.  Extras include featurettes.

Includes the episodes:

  • XIX.: Flint and his crew wage war against the world; Eleanor is offered clemency; Vane takes issue with Rackham’s methods; one of Nassau’s most notorious individuals returns.
  • XX.: After declining Captain Hornigold’s “pardons”, Captain Flint and his crew will test their fate; Vane runs into an old friend; Eleanor and Woodes Rogers continue their journey.
  • XXI.: The conflict between Flint and Silver escalates as starvation and dehydration set in; Woodes and Eleanor arrive to troubling circumstances in Nassau; Blackbeard takes charge of an uncertain situation on the island.
  • XXII.: Change begins to take root in Nassau; on a strange island, Flint, Silver and Billy are unified against a common adversary; Blackbeard and Vane formulate a plan of escape.
  • XXIII.: Vane finds a new way forward from Teach; Silver urges Flint to make a move or die; Eleanor and Rogers respond to a new threat.
  • XXIV.: Flint and Teach clash over the future of piracy; Rogers makes an arrest; Rackham finds new purpose. Madi comes to Silver’s aid.
  • XXV.: Captain Flint and Silver returns to Nassau to finish what they started and a legend is born. With Rackham’s fate in the hands of Rogers, his future looks grim. Vane’s mission evolves while Eleanor confides in Rogers.
  • XXVI.: Rogers is attacked during a prisoner transport; Vane and Bonny race to save Rackham; the Walrus and her crew come under siege.
  • XXVII.: Captain Flint prepares for the final battle, while Billy tries to save Captain Vane from being hanged; Max must decide who she can trust; Eleanor Guthrie finds herself in charge of Nassau.
  • XXVIII.: Hornigold and the British come for the pirates; Rackham and Bonny face impossible odds; Silver demands answers from Flint; Billy crowns a king.

 

ggGoodbye Girl
Warner Archive / Released 11/8/16

Ex-chorus girl Paula McFadden (Marsha Mason) knows: In romance, actors all follow the same stage instruction: Exit. Without warning, her actor boyfriend split today for a movie role and sublet their Manhattan apartment. The new tenant’s name: Elliot Garfield. Profession: actor.

Garfield (Richard Dreyfuss) has just arrived in Manhattan to take the acting role of his life–Richard III in an off-off-Broadway production.  This time Paula’s ex has abandoned her –and left Paula and her nine-year-old daughter (Quinn Cummings) without a job or a place to live. Garfield legally has claim to the apartment, but he can’t throw a mother and daughter out. So, despite Garfield’s habits of chanting, burning incense and walking about naked, the threesome forms a home.

Dreyfuss and Mason deliver comedy, zingy repartee and bitter-to-best romance this lustrous charmer featuring Dreyfuss’ Academy Award-winning Best Actor performance. Neil Simon’s screenplay deftly combines battle-of-the-sexes appeal with an off-Broadway subplot that’s as funny and charming today as it was when it was first released in 1977. Extras include trailer.

 

111668_frontBubba Ho-Tep
Shout! Factory / Released 11/8/16

An ancient evil finds resistance in the most unlikely of places in this oddball comedy horror effort from Phantasm director Don Coscarelli and based on the novella by Joe R. Lansdale.

Resting in the confines of a Mud Creek, TX, nursing home after fading into obscurity following his departure from the limelight, an aging and embittered Elvis (Bruce Campbell) befriends a delusional African American patient named Jack (Ossie Davis) who claims to be John F. Kennedy.

It seems that at the height of his popularity Elvis had switched identities with a convincing double, and, upon the death of the substitute, missed his chance to reclaim his former fame.

Despite his anger at never having made a comeback, Elvis finds a new reason to live when Jack tips him off to an evil mummy that is feasting on the souls of hapless nursing home inhabitants. Before long the geriatric duo must muster the strength to fend off the malevolent soul sucker lest they ultimately fall prey to the fearsome Bubba Ho-Tep.

Extras include three commentary tracks including new commentary with author Joe R. Lansdale, interviews, deleted scenes, featurettes, music video, trailer, tv spot and still gallery.

 

164310_frontInto the Badlands: Season 1
Starz/Anchor Bay / Released 11/8/16

Centuries from now, civilization as we know it has ceased to exist. Billions perished and nations collapsed, but over time, a feudal society emerged where the strongest rose to wealth and power.

This area, known as the Badlands, is uneasily divided among seven rival Barons who control the resources necessary to daily life. Each Baron has loyal armies of trained assassins known as Clippers. Baron Quinn’s head Clipper, Sunny (Daniel Wu), grew swiftly through the ranks to become Quinn’s most trusted advisor. For decades, Quinn has been unchallenged as the Badlands’ most powerful Baron, but there is a rising suspicion among his rivals that he is growing vulnerable.

The territory’s newest Baron, The Widow (Emily Beecham), has begun testing his appetite for a fight. An ambush leads Sunny to a teenage boy, M.K. (Aramis Knight), who Sunny soon learns harbors a dark secret and has a hefty bounty on his head. Sunny selects M.K. as his Colt (student) and together, they will embark on an odyssey that could mean the difference between chaos and enlightenment for everyone in the Badlands.  Extras include featurettes and digital comic.

Includes the episodes:

  • The Fort: Sunny rescues a mysterious boy who harbors a dark secret, but may also know the way out of the Badlands.
  • Fist Like a Bullet: M.K. finds refuge in an unlikely and dangerous place, while Sunny’s loyalty is tested when Quinn tries to force him to commit an unspeakable act.
  • White Stork Spreads Wings: As Sunny begins to train M.K., the boy struggles to learn discipline. Meanwhile, Quinn seeks retribution against The Widow and faces the consequences.
  • Two Tigers Subdue Dragons: Sunny and M.K. try to figure out how to control the boy’s power, while Quinn sets a dangerous parlay with a rival Baron to help fight The Widow.
  • Snake Creeps Down: As Sunny secures his escape from the Fort, Quinn grows suspicious, while The Widow’s decisions set her on a collision course with Sunny and M.K.
  • Hand of Five Poisons: Sunny and M.K. fight to escape Quinn’s grip once and for all, while the Baron’s enemies conspire to take him down and change the Badlands forever.

 

164245_frontTaxi Driver 40th Anniversary Edition
Sony / Released 11/8/16

“All the animals come out at night” — and one of them is a cabby about to snap.

In Martin Scorsese’s classic 1970s drama, insomniac ex-Marine Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) works the night shift, driving his cab throughout decaying mid-’70s New York City, wishing for a “real rain” to wash the “scum” off the neon-lit streets.

Chronically alone, Travis cannot connect with anyone, not even with such other cabbies as blowhard Wizard (Peter Boyle). He becomes infatuated with vapid blonde presidential campaign worker Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), who agrees to a date and then spurns Travis when he cluelessly takes her to a porno movie.

After an encounter with a malevolent fare (played by Scorsese), the increasingly paranoid Travis begins to condition (and arm) himself for his imagined destiny, a mission that mutates from assassinating Betsy’s candidate, Charles Palatine (Leonard Harris), to violently “saving” teen hooker Iris (Jodie Foster) from her pimp, Sport (Harvey Keitel).

Travis’ bloodbath turns him into a media hero; but has it truly calmed his mind?

Written by Paul Schrader, Taxi Driver is an homage to and reworking of cinematic influences, a study of individual psychosis, and an acute diagnosis of the latently violent, media-fixated Vietnam era. Scorsese and Schrader structure Travis’ mission to save Iris as a film noir version of John Ford’s late Western The Searchers (1956), aligning Travis with a mythology of American heroism while exposing that myth’s obsessively violent underpinnings. Yet Travis’ military record and assassination attempt, as well as Palatine’s political platitudes, also ground Taxi Driver in its historical moment of American in the 1970s.

Employing such techniques as Godardian jump cuts and ellipses, expressive camera moves and angles, and garish colors, all punctuated by Bernard Herrmann’s eerie final score (finished the day he died), Scorsese presents a Manhattan skewed through Travis’ point-of-view, where De Niro’s now-famous “You talkin’ to me” improv becomes one more sign of Travis’ madness.

Shot during a New York summer heat wave and garbage strike, Taxi Driver got into trouble with the MPAA for its violence. Scorsese desaturated the color in the final shoot-out and got an R, and Taxi Driver surprised its unenthusiastic studio by becoming a box-office hit. Released in the Bicentennial year, after Vietnam, Watergate, and attention-getting attempts on President Ford’s life, Taxi Driver’s intense portrait of a man and a society unhinged spoke resonantly to the mid-’70s audience — too resonantly in the case of attempted Reagan assassin and Foster fan John W. Hinckley.

Taxi Driver went on to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but it lost the Best Picture Oscar to the more comforting Rocky. Anchored by De Niro’s disturbing embodiment of “God’s lonely man,” Taxi Driver remains a striking milestone of both Scorsese’s career and 1970s Hollywood.  Extras include new 40th Anniversary Tribeca Film Festival Q & A, commentaries, featurettes, and trailer.

 

161412_frontBillions
Showtime / Released 11/8/16

Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis star in a complex drama about power politics in the world of New York high finance.

Shrewd, savvy U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) and the brilliant, ambitious hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Lewis) are on an explosive collision course, with each using all of his considerable smarts, power and influence to outmaneuver the other. The stakes are in the billions in this timely, provocative series.

Cast and guest stars include Maggie Siff, Malin Akerman, Toby Leonard Moore, David Costabile, Daniel K. Isaac, Kelly AuCoin, Condola Rashad, Dan Soder, Terry Kinney, Anthony Edwards, Austin Pendleton, Jerry O’Connell, Jeffrey DeMunn, Noah Emmerich, John Carroll Lynch, Kathryn Erbe, Harry Lennix, James Le Gros, Penn Jillette and Metallica.

Extras include featurettes.

Includes the episodes:

  • Pilot: The world of high finance is explored by tracking the approaching collision between a savvy U.S. Attorney and a billionaire hedge-fund manager. In the opener, an inside tip sparks a high-level game of cat and mouse.
  • Naming Rights: Chuck’s probe is temporarily derailed. Axe makes an aggressive move.
  • YumTime: Axe makes an activist play in a move that reverberates back to Chuck.
  • Short Squeeze: Axe deals with a betrayal. Chuck learns the inner workings of Axe Capital.
  • The Good Life: Axe unceremoniously disappears. Chuck intensifies his investigation.
  • The Deal: Wendy facilitates a deal that hinges on a meeting between Chuck and Axe.
  • The Punch: The pressure starts to affect Axe. Chuck uses the past to his advantage.
  • Boasts and Rails: A tip throws the case into jeopardy. Secrets surface from Axe’s past.
  • Where the F*ck is Donnie?: A sudden and mysterious disappearance sends both Axe and Chuck spinning.
  • Quality of Life: Axe and Wendy do some soul searching. Chuck suffers a devastating setback.
  • Magical Thinking: Axe loses big on a bad trade. Chuck finds proof that could save the case.
  • The Conversation: Chuck goes in search of Axe and an explosive confrontation.

 

162751_frontKickboxer Vengeance
Image Entertainment / Released 11/8/16

Kurt Sloane (Alain Moussi) has always been there for his brother, Eric (Darren Shahlavi), who’s known in the martial arts world as a modern-day warrior.

But when the ruthless and undefeated fighter Tong Po (David Bautista) brutally ends Eric’s life in a no-holds-barred match in Thailand, Kurt travels to Thailand and devotes himself to training with a master (Jean-Claude Van Damme) in a quest for redemption… and revenge.

This update to the 1989 classic film also features Gina Carano, Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, Sara Malakul Lane, and Georges St-Pierre.

Extras include behind the scenes, gallery and trailers.

 

163925_frontMorris From America
Lionsgate / Released 11/8/16

A heartwarming and crowd-pleasing coming-of-age comedy with a unique spin, Morris From America centers on Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas) a 13-year-old who has just relocated with his single father, Curtis (Craig Robinson) to Heidelberg, Germany.

Morris, who fancies himself the next Notorious B.I.G., is a complete fish-out-of-water— a budding hip-hop star in an EDM world. To complicate matters further, Morris quickly falls hard for his cool, rebellious, 15-year-old classmate Katrin.

Morris sets out against all odds to take the hip-hop world by storm and win the girl of his dreams.

Extras include featurette, bloopers, commentary, deleted scenes, and casting tapes.

 

91ko5pe-tsl-_sy445_Being Evel
Filmrise / Released 11/8/16

In the history of sports, few names are more recognizable than that of Evel Knievel.

Long after the man hung up his famous white leather jumpsuit and rode his Harley into the sunset, his name is still synonymous with the death-defying lifestyle he led.

Notoriously brash, bold, and daring, Knievel stared death in the face from the seat of his motorcycle, but few know the larger-than-life story of the boy from Butte, Montana.

After an adolescence riddled with petty thievery and general rabble-rousing, Knievel set his sights on superstardom, a feat he achieved when televisions around the world aired the startling crash footage of his 1967 attempt to jump the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The jump was spectacular, but the failed landing that sent him skidding like a ragdoll across the asphalt was the main attraction. Throughout the 1970s, his legacy as King of the Daredevils spawned action figures, movies, and a generation of kids who wanted to be just like Evel.

Featuring insights from current action sports superstars who were inspired by Evel’s iconic career, Oscar-winning director Daniel Junge immerses the audience in an incredible life story.

Last Word: Somewhere lurking in your toy collection, if you were a little boy or girl growing up in the early 1970s, is an Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle that you cherished more than almost any toy you possessed.

Of course, if you were lucky enough like my friend Paul to have an Evel Knievel Scramble Van or the Evel Knievel Canyon Sky Cycle, you may have cherished those things more.

In fact, there were countless toys and accessories for the Evel Knievel fan out there in the 1970s because it seemed that Evel himself was everywhere, or as one interviewee states in Being Evel, the new bio documentary by Daniel Junge, “Evel was the 1970s.”

For those of you too young to remember, Evel Knievel (born Robert Craig Knievel in Butte, Montana), was a flamboyant motorcycle daredevil operating in the 1970s who completely captured the imagination of a United States that was looking for a hero after the turbulence of the 1960s and the ongoing Vietnam War.

Whenever Evel would attempt a stunt on television, either on ABC’s popular program, The Wide World Of Sports, or a closed circuit event, the country would be glued to the screen to see if he would still be alive at the other end of the ramp or at least to find out how many bones he broke doing the stunt.

Knievel was also the talk show circuit, appearing on Carson, Dinah, and Cavett; you name it, someone every night had to talk with Evel about the cult of Evel.

Junge assembled an impressive cast containing everybody of note who was affected by Evel, both personally and those affected by the televised mystique that dominated the 70s. Like the massive volume of merchandising available to satisfy the fandom of Evel, there is an enormous number of stories, both good and wretched, that Evel was connected to during his time on our planet.

The cast includes Evel’s beleaguered wife Linda, who had to endure Evel’s constant open carousing much to her displeasure, Shelley Saltman, his promotions manager for the Snake River Canyon fiasco whom Evel beat with a baseball bat shortly after being displeased with his tell all book about Evel, and on the more positive front, Tony Hawk, Johnny Knoxville (who co-produced the film) and many others who make a good point that “extreme” or action sports as well as Knoxville’s own show Jackass would most likely not be around if not for Evel’s devil may care attitude about death in exchange for fame and fortune.

The narrative is told in a fairly traditional fashion, maybe too traditional as Junge used a multitude of the aforementioned talking heads and some archival footage to accentuate Knievel’s exploits, which is fine enough except that given the larger than life personality that he was, you aren’t as blown away by the presentation of the material as you should be.

It is a professionally made documentary treatment that could have taken inspiration from Evel himself to take a few more chances in its presentation to match the dynamic personality that was Evel Knievel.

Despite that, it is not a total fluff piece, as even though Being Evel does contain a good amount of hero worship, it does go to some fairly dark places to reveal the inner demons of a man from a small town who may have come across way too much notoriety and wealth in too short a time. After hearing the whole story, I never really regretted all of the afternoons I spent playing with my Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, trying to jump Evel over my G.I. Joes that were lying in sleeping position.

Keeping my memory of Evel positive was not as easy as I hoped, for after seeing Being Evel, I was left with a clear idea of a brave but flawed man whom I loved as a boy and a man who gambled an awful lot on his own life, showing no fear while impressing millions of people, but in the process hurt many of those who actually knew him. 
 (– Generoso Fierro)

 

61vvq9rcbyl-_sl1000_Band of Robbers
Filmrise / Released 11/8/16

A modern day retelling of Mark Twain’s iconic books, Band of Robbers is a comedic adventure that reimagines the Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as grown men and small-time crooks.

When Finn is released from prison he hopes to leave his criminal life behind, but his lifelong friend (and corrupt cop) Tom Sawyer, has other plans.

Not ready to give up on his childhood fantasies, Tom forms the Band of Robbers, recruiting their misfit friends Joe Harper and Ben Rogers, to join them for an elaborate plan to find a fabled treasure.

But the plan soon unravels, thrusting the guys on a wild journey with dangerous consequences…

Last Word: From the description of Band of Robbers (A modern-day retelling of Mark Twain’s iconic “Adventures of” books” that reimagines Huck Finn and Tom Saywer as rebels looking to score a local treasure) you’d think that for fans of Twain, this would be a good idea: great characters, solid stories, the cultural history of America, but sadly, it isn’t.

More to the point, Robbers is more of a love letter to the films of Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers than to the biting social commentary and witticisms that Twain is known and beloved for.

Which would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that Huck (Kyle Gallner) and Tom (Adam Nee), two of the most well-known American Literature characters, are relegated to playing parody ghosts of themselves who just so happen to be in an homage to filmmakers who have nothing to do with the film itself.

And I get it.

Having Huck getting out of jail and wanting to go on the straight-and-narrow redemptive path only to be seduced by Tom, a police officer who dreams of the big score, is almost a verbatim recounting of Anderson’s 1996 flick Bottle Rocket (only instead of jail, Luke Wilson’s Anthony leaves a mental hospital), a film that was obviously influential to the brothers Nee.

Hell, I don’t even have a problem with the idea of superimposing Twain into Anderson’s plot, but let’s at least be honest about it.

Throwing Tom and Huck and their friends in the mix, including Becky Thatcher (Benoist), Ben Rogers (Buress), Joe Harper (Gubler), Jorge Jiminez (an undocumented worker who is a stand-in for Slave Jim played by Mora) and Injun Joe (Lang) who is a cultural appropriator á la Rachel Dolezal), seems more of a “Hey, look at what I did, aren’t I cool?” move rather than an honest attempt to modernize historical literary characters.

Once the film moves into the more action oriented part of the story (where “the gang” goes for “the score”) the thematic tone shuffles into its Raising Arizona tempo throwing in quirky humor that doesn’t quite pay off, nor match the first half of the film. Again, I understand what the filmmakers were going for; unfortunately the payoff wasn’t well executed or needed in order to make the story interesting.

So is Band of Robbers a horrible film?

No, not for a certain audience, and the reason is simply this: It will be appreciated by those who are unfamiliar with the characters (something that is more probable now than when I was reading about them in school seeing as how often Twain is banned) and for whom the names Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer are nothing more than a footnote in pop culture. For that audience, Robbers will be enjoyable.

For those who love them it will feel that their inclusion in the film is nothing more than a publicity move and one that fails to actualize what it is/was about Huck and Tom that made the characters so important to their fans and to literature.

If you are the type of person who can get past the glaring bastardization of the plot and characters, Band of Robbers will be an easily digestible 95 minutes that you won’t remember much of after it ends, and if you aren’t, well, you might as well go ahead and watch Bottle Rocket and Raising Arizona, they are certainly much more entertaining.  (– Elizabeth Weitz)

 

118111_frontFinding Dory
Disney / Released 11/15/16

From the Academy Award-winning creators of Disney-Pixar’s Finding Nemo (Best Animated Feature, 2003) comes an epic undersea adventure filled with imagination, humor and heart.

When Dory, the forgetful blue tang (Ellen DeGeneres), suddenly remembers she has a family who may be looking for her, she, Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence) take off on a life-changing quest to find them… with help from Hank, a cantankerous octopus; Bailey, a beluga whale who’s convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny, a nearsighted whale shark.

Voice cast includes Sigourney Weaver, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ed O’Neill, Idris Elba, Bill Hader, Ty Burrell and Kaitlin Olson.

Extras include shorts, featurettes, and deleted scenes.

Last Word: In Finding Dory, the film picks up where Finding Nemo left off, roughly, and Dory starts to remember things from her past, including her parents. This prompts her to try to remember more and make her way across the ocean to where she believes her parents are, and hopefully will be. Both Marlin and Nemo are there to help along the way as well.  This movie should really not be titled Finding Dory as she barely gets lost in the film and is almost always with another character or two.  In truth, it should be called “Finding Dory’s Parents” or Finding Dory’s Memory” as those are the primary goals of the plot.  Not to make a pun here but this film is so much deeper than Finding Nemo, in that it deals with a very serious mental issue of short-term memory loss and how it has affected Dory her entire life, as well as affecting the others around her.

Memory loss, both short-term and long-term, are serious issues that actually do plague people on a regular basis, and can dramatically affect lives in a variety of ways.  Finding Dory deals with short-term memory loss in a very interesting way, and it was great for the film itself because it gave so much more breadth to the character of Dory, whom we know so little about besides her issue and her quirkiness.  While flashbacks were not that much of a device in Finding Nemo, they became that in this movie as a way to help move the story forward.  Occasionally, Dory would have a morsel of a memory come back to her and it would help further her quest to find her parents, because she missed them.  All throughout Dory’s life she has dealt with short-term memory loss, and it has made a lot of the sea creatures that she interacts with impatient with her, give up on her, ditch her, or trick her in various ways.  These are lessons that are great for the audience, especially the younger audience, as to how to deal with anyone that may have an issue like that, and even when it comes to something like under-confidence, these are great lessons to learn from this film.  Eventually it becomes apparent that what Dory needed was encouragement, love, trust, and appreciation to help her overcome her lapses of memory loss.  In other words, the real lesson was that positive reinforcement worked better than negative, or none at all.  Just like most of the other PIXAR films, this one was layered with multiple lessons or morals to the story.  Dory was not the only character to grow in this film.

Numerous characters learned lessons in Finding Dory about things like trust, faith, confidence, perseverance, and acceptance.  The amount of lessons in the film was almost as numerous and vibrant as the amount of characters packed in as well.  There are of course Dory and other blue tangs, Marlin and Nemo as the clown fish, Mr. Ray as the stingray, and Crush and Squirt the sea turtles, but there were so many more than just the familiar faces.  There are sea lions, otters, sunfish, giant squid, oysters, a whale shark, a beluga whale, and a loon, but the most interesting character was a septopus (an octopus that lost a leg) named Hank.  Hank was voiced by Ed O’Neill (Married with Children and Modern Family) and was a character bent on being transferred from the Marine Life Institute to the Cleveland Aquarium, because he did not like the open ocean.  Hank is able to camouflage and change shape and proves to be a valuable friend to Dory in the long run.  Filling this amazing line-up of characters is an amazing voice cast, besides the returning folk from Finding Nemo.  There was Idris Elba, Dominic West, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Kaitlin Olson, Ty Burrell, and as Nemo in this film was Hayden Rolence.  Although Alexander Gould was too old to play Nemo for this film he did still return and had a cameo as a voice somewhere in the film.  Of course John Ratzenberger played a character again, as this was a PIXAR film and he is their trademark voice actor.

While the cast of characters may have been something else, the film had a much different feel to it than Finding NemoFinding Nemo had a healthy amount of comedy that was good for all ages as well as a truly heartfelt storyline.  Finding Dory did not quite get there with any of those, albeit the gags were still fun and creative but not as much fun as the original.  The story, while touching at times, did not seem to have as much of a struggle as Finding Nemo did and ultimately was not as rewarding of a payoff either.  Finding Dory was still a good film and ranks well on the PIXAR scale, but it was lacking something and maybe it’s that the story still felt a little disorganized due to the back and forth between characters and flashbacks and so on.  However, the convolution of the film may have been intentional, to make the viewer feel somewhat like Dory and not completely understanding or knowing exactly what is going on in that moment.  While it was still Andrew Stanton directing, a similar voice cast, and even Thomas Newman returned to score the film, it did not have the same feel as Finding Nemo.  Since it was a PIXAR film, do pay attention for an ocean of Easter eggs in the film as they are always in there, including some other familiar faces after the main film ends, and even another famous actor as a voice in this film that has been a voice in a previous PIXAR film that was not Finding Nemo.

To wrap things up, Finding Dory was a good film with a good message.  Great cast of characters as well as actors, good score, well animated and still a fun film.  It is a good film for all ages as kids can enjoy the characters and playfulness of it while adults can grasp the deeper meaning to the story, which is the same as most animated features.  If a heartfelt story is desired then stick with the original, otherwise this is still a fun watch.  Also, the short before the film, Piper, is a cute, extremely well animated and creative short film. Enjoy and remember to just keep swimming! ( Joel Siegel)

 

133855_front-1Game of Thrones Season 6
HBO / Released 11/15/16

Summers span decades. Winters can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plots, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; and all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond. Kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars, lords, and honest men…all will play the “Game of Thrones.”

In Series 6 Bran Stark continues to train with the Three-Eyed Raven and, after being captured, Daenerys Targaryen is brought to Vaes Dothrak. Elsewhere, Ramsay Bolton’s heir status is threatened in Winterfell and Jon Snow’s fate is revealed.

Extras include in episode guide, histories and lore shirts, commentaries, featurettes, and deleted scenes.

Includes the episodes:

  • The Red Woman: The fate of Jon Snow is revealed. Daenerys is brought before Khal Moro. Tyrion gets used to living in Meereen. Ramsay sends his dogs after Theon and Sansa. Ellaria and the Sand Snakes make their move. Cersei mourns for Myrcella.
  • Home: Bran trains with the Three-Eyed Raven. Tommen meets with Cersei. Tyrion makes a bold move. Theon leaves while at Pyke new issues arise. Ramsay’s brother is born. Davos asks Melisandre for a miracle.
  • Oathbreaker: Daenerys arrives at Vaes Dothrak. Sam and Gilly sail for Horn Hill. Arya trains as No One. Varys finds information on the Sons of the Harpy. Ramsay receives a gift. Tommen meets with the High Sparrow. At Castle Black, a miracle occurs.
  • Book of the Stranger: Sansa arrives at Castle Black. Tyrion makes a deal with the Slave Masters. Jorah and Daario sneak into Vaes Dothrak. Ramsay sends a letter to Jon. Theon arrives at Pyke. Cersei and Olenna Tyrell plot against the High Sparrow.
  • The Door: Sansa and Jon make plans. Arya is given another chance to prove herself. Jorah confesses a secret to Daenerys. Tyrion meets with a Red Priestess. Yara finds her rule tested. Bran discovers the origin of the White Walkers.
  • Blood of My Blood: Bran and Meera find a new ally. Gilly meets Sam’s family. Arya makes a difficult choice. The Lannisters and Tyrells march against the High Sparrow.
  • The Broken Man: Jon and Sansa gather troops. Jaime arrives at Riverrun. Olenna Tyrell plans to leave King’s Landing. Theon and Yara plan a destination. Arya makes plans to leave.
  • No One: Brienne arrives at Riverrun. Arya seeks shelter. Jaime meets with Edmure Tully. Cersei challenges the Faith. Sandor Clegane hunts for revenge. Tyrion faces the consequences of earlier decisions.
  • Battle of the Bastards: Jon and Sansa face Ramsay Bolton on the fields of Winterfell. Daenerys strikes back at her enemies. Theon and Yara arrive in Meereen.
  • The Winds of Winter: Cersei and Loras Tyrell stand trial by the gods. Daenerys prepares to set sail for Westeros. Davos confronts Melisandre. Sam and Gilly arrive in The Citadel. Bran discovers a long kept secret. Lord Frey has an uninvited guest.

 

56464_frontTime After Time
Warner Archive / Released 11/15/16

Famed scholar, author, inventor and prophet H.G. Wells chases Jack the Ripper, one of the most feared serial murderers of all time, from 19th-century London to modern-day San Francisco in this science fiction thriller.

When Jack the Ripper (David Warner) flees across time in one ofH.G. Wells’ (Malcolm McDowell) inventions, Wells follows him to the 20th Century. Now, in a city and a time completely unknown to him, Wells must find a way to stop the Ripper from continuing his streak of murders.

Extras include commentary and trailer.

Last Word: What an idea: not just that Wells himself invented a real time machine, but that Jack the Ripper uses it to flee into the future, and now Wells is the only one who can stop him.

And did the filmmakers manage to execute this idea with success? Yes, thank heavens, yes. As far as I can tell, every critic and viewer who sees this film enjoys it. There are very few negative comments out there because the film’s virtues are so obvious: Malcolm McDowell as the charmingly anachronistic Wells in modern San Francisco; David Warner as the chilling Ripper, much less out of place than one would like; Mary Steenburgen giving a kind of vulnerable strength to her drawling bank executive heroine; story and screen writing that takes advantage of copious opportunities, direction and cinematography that keeps the pace steady and never intrudes upon the drama.

From a literary standpoint, it was a great call to establish an unlikely friendship between H.G. and Jack. Their conflict becomes a battle of wills and wits, and each knows the other=s strengths and weaknesses. The only obvious plot device is the flat tire. From a film critic’s standpoint, the highlight is probably the early confrontation by the TV in the hotel room. The time travel sequence is more psychedelic and less realistic than that of George Pal’s Time Machine. The score by Miklos Rosza (Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, Ben-Hur, many more) is brazen, lush, at times almost chaotic.

As a whole, Time After Time offers a rare perfect mix of action, romance, comedy, and horror. (– David E. Goldweber)

 

152677_frontStar Trek: The Animated Series
Paramount/ Released 11/15/16

Boldly continuing where Star Trek: The Original Series left off, these animated adventures chart the progress of Captain Kirk and his crew in a universe unconstrained by “real-life” cinematography!

With all characters voiced by their original actors, join Kirk, Spock, Bones and the crew for 22 new adventures: to boldly go where no animation has gone before.

Voices include William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, Majel Barrett, Stanley Adams, Ted Knight and Mark Lenard.

Extras include text and audio commentaries, featurettes and making of.

Includes the episodes:

  • Beyond the Farthest Star: The Enterprise finds an ancient abandoned starship, and a malevolent entity on it eager to take over the Starfleet ship.
  • Yesteryear: After finding himself erased from recent history, Spock must travel back in time to save himself as a youth.
  • One of Our Planets Is Missing: The crew of the Enterprise must stop a living planet consuming cloud before it attacks an inhabited world.
  • The Lorelei Signal: The female crew members must take over the Enterprise when the men are incapacitated.
  • More Tribbles, More Troubles: Cyrano Jones again infiltrates the ship with Tribbles that now grow to monstrous size.
  • The Survivor: A famous humanitarian is found alive near the Romulan Neutral Zone after being missing for five years, but he may not be who he claims to be.
  • The Infinite Vulcan: On a planet of intelligent plantlike creatures, the clone of a human scientist clones Mr. Spock for use in a galactic peace mission.
  • The Magicks of Megas-Tu: The USS Enterprise is exploring the center of the galaxy, looking for the heart of creation. When the ship is caught inside a tornado made of pure energy, a devil like being calling himself Lucien appears to save them. Lucien takes Capt. Kirk and his crew to the magical planet of Megas-Tu. But when the Megans discover the presence of humans, they put them on trial the same way they were treated when they visited Earth centuries earlier.
  • Once Upon a Planet: Upon returning to the Amusement Park planet, the Enterpise crew finds the computer, which generates the planet’s sophisticated robots is running amok, and the caretaker is no where to be found.
  • Mudd’s Passion: The Enterprise crew runs into its old nemesis; Harcourt Fenton Mudd, more commonly known as Harry Mudd. Time’s not changed Mudd’s predilection for nefarious business ventures. This time, he’s peddling an illegal love potion. The drug does have an accidental effect; on Spock, who, again finds himself falling for nurse Christine Chapel.
  • The Terratin Incident: While on a mapping mission, the Enterprise receives an outdated transmission from the volcanic star Cepheus. A flash of light from the planet passes through the ship and disables all dilithium crystals. Soon thereafter, the crew begins to shrink. With no cure in sight, it becomes increasingly difficult for the Starfleet officers to handle the ship’s controls.
  • The Time Trap: The Enterprise and a Klingon ship are trapped in space-time warp where only their cooperation will allow them to escape.
  • The Ambergris Element: While the Enterprise investigates a water-world, Captain Kirk and Commander Spock go missing. They’ve been abducted by the world’s inhabitants and altered into water breathers as well.
  • The Slaver Weapon: Spock, Uhura and Sulu discover an ancient multi-use weapon and are captured by the Kzinti who are equally interested in it.
  • The Eye of the Beholder: Kirk and crew find themselves placed in an alien zoo.
  • The Jihad: A team comprised of various intergalactic experts, amongst them are Kirk and Spock, must recover an artifact known as the Soul of the Skorr. The theft must be kept secret, or a galactic holy war could break out.
  • The Pirates of Orion: The medicine required for Spock, who has contracted a fatal disease, is stolen by Orion pirates.
  • Bem: The Enterprise crew is being observed as their suitability to meet with advanced civilizations.
  • The Practical Joker: The computer of the Enterprise gains partial sentience and starts playing practical jokes on the crew.
  • Albatross: Dr. McCoy is arrested and charged with causing an alien plague.
  • How Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tooth: The Enterprise runs into a being which once visited Earth, and influenced the Mayan culture.
  • The Counter-Clock Incident: The Enterprise is transporting its first Captain, Robert April to Babel, where he will reluctantly accept his retirement. When the Enterprise attempt to stop an unidentified vessel on a collision course with the Beta Niobe nova, the ship accidentally pass into an alternate dimension, where time flows in the opposite direction. The crew of the Enterprise rapidly begins to grow younger in age, and soon become unable to man the consoles.

 

163455_frontCoffee and Cigarettes
Olive Films / Released 11/15/16

A comic series of short vignettes build on one another to create a cumulative effect, as the characters discuss things as diverse as caffeine popsicles, Paris in the ’20s, and the use of nicotine as an insecticide–all the while sitting around sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes.

As director Jim Jarmusch delves into the normal pace of our world from an extraordinary angle, he shows just how absorbing the obsessions, joys and addictions of life can be, if truly observed.

The eclectic cast of performers including Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Roberto Benigni, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Joie Lee, Steve Buscemi, Alfred Molina and Steve Coogan.

The film also features appearances by Steven Wright, Isaach De Bankolé, Jack White, and Taylor Mead.

 

163459_frontHoudini
Olive Films / Released 11/15/16

Hollywood’s silver screen couple, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, teamed for this 1953 Technicolor entertainment about the life of famed illusionist Harry Houdini.

Directed by George Marshall, Houdini traces the fascinating life of the world’s foremost illusionist and escapologist (portrayed by Tony Curtis), from his early years working the Coney Island sideshows, where he’ll meet his future bride Bess (Janet Leigh), to career heights performing for dignitaries and royalty across the globe.

Houdini’s fame would not lessen his quest for answers to life after death. His search for the answer would eventually lead to his most complex and dangerous performance.

Houdini, beautifully shot in Technicolor by Ernest Laszlo (Academy Award winner for Ship of Fools, 1965) with costumes by the great Edith Head (winner of eight Academy Awards for Best Costume design), also stars Torin Thatcher, Angela Clarke and Sig Ruman.

 

131729_frontDeath of a Salesman
Shout! Factory / Released 11/15/16

During the post-war boom period of the late ’40s, Willy Loman is an aging, traveling salesman, who despairs that his life his been lived in vain.

Facing dispensability and insignificance in a heated, youthful economy, Willy is not ready to part with his cherished fantasies of an America that admires him for personable triumphs in the marketplace.

But the reality is far more difficult than that, and the measure of Willy’s self-delusion and contradictions is found in his two sons. One, Harold, is a ne’er-do-well gliding on inherited hot air and repressed feelings, and the other, Biff, a mousy, retiring sort unable to reconcile the difference between his father’s desperate impersonation of success and the truth.

The telefilm won three Emmy awards and stars Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid, John Malkovich, Stephen Lang, Charles Durning, Jon Polito, and Linda Kozlowski. Extras include behind the scene featurette.

 

163829_frontFort Tilden
Kino Lorber / Released 11/15/16

Fort Tilden, New York City’s secluded seaside nirvana where, like bees to honey, Brooklyn’s hip millennial set flocks on sweltering weekend afternoons for unbridled summertime indulgence.

Amidst the vexing stagnation of quarter-life crises, Allie (Clare McNulty) struggles to prepare for the Peace Corps, while Harper (Bridey Elliott) awaits checks from her father to fund her artistic dreams.

But the two friends quickly shun responsibilities for the day when a pair of good-looking guys invites them along for a carefree Fort Tilden afternoon.

As the two young women board their fixed-gear bicycles and embark on a lengthy journey to the beach, they quickly realize that, akin to their confusing, transitioning lives, they neither know where they’re going nor how they plan to get there.  Extras include interviews.

Last Word: In Fort Tilden two Brooklyn hipster twenty-somethings, Allie and Harper (Clare McNulty and Bridey Elliott) go on a quasi-road trip (via bikes and cabs) to the beach where they hope to embark on a Molly-fueled fuck fest with two guys they met at a party the night before.

Like most movies in which the characters go on a quest, the girls are plagued by various WTF issues (including almost running down an infant in a stroller, watching one of their bikes get stolen and putting kittens in a garbage can “to protect them”) while passive-aggressively dealing with the fact that their friendship is breaking apart due to Allie leaving for the Peace Corps.

While the premise is a good mash-up between Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and a Noah Baumbach/Neil LaBute film, there is a certain likability issue with the characters that is hard to accept at times.  Both Allie and Harper are horrible solipsistic Millennials who are incapable of living outside their Williamsburg neighborhood.

Their insular lives (which are protected by this artisanal enclave) has caused a certain blurriness when it comes to empathy and understanding of human nature, making it almost impossible for them to navigate the crossroads of change which naturally occurs when people start to grow up.

The only saving grace of these characters lie in the performances of McNulty and Elliot, who somehow imbue Allie and Harper with a weirdly sweet vulnerability which makes you want to keep watching their escapades even though in less capable hands, you’d probably walk out of the theater (and there’s still a chance you will if you happen to find self-absorption and obsessive texting hard to move past).

Regardless, both writers/directors Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers need to be commended for their deeply caustic and cutting script (which manages to appeal to their target audience of Generation M while still skewering the culture at the same time) and their ability to capture the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in a way that makes them feel thousands of miles apart both culturally and distance-wise.

So is Fort Tilden a good movie?

I still don’t know. There are moments of brilliance and sharp humor that I appreciate but there is also a feeling of separation that can only be blamed on being almost twenty years older than the characters.

This is a generational movie and I am old and no longer interested in the level of narcissism that seems to be in style right now, but still, there’s something about Fort Tilden that appeals to me in a socio-cultural way that I can appreciate.

I guess what it comes down to is this: If you enjoy a show like Girls, there’s a good chance you will enjoy Fort Tilden, and if you’d rather set fire to your face than deal with anything similar to Girls, well, this isn’t the flick for you.  (– Elizabeth Weitz)

 

91df3m-mgdl-_sl1500_The Lucy Show: The Complete Series
Paramount/ Released 11/15/16

The Lucy Show was Ms. Ball’s follow-up series to her classic I Love Lucy and subsequent Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour series of specials.

To insure its success, she brought along many crew members from her previous series, including the writing staff.

During the course of its run, the show underwent several format changes.

Initially, the series was set in small town Danfield, New York. Lucy Carmichael was a widow with two children, Chris and Jerry, who shared a house with her buddy Vivian Bagley (Vivian Vance) and her son Sherman.

In the first handful of shows, neighbor and occasional boyfriend Harry Conners (Dick Martin) was featured. Many of the plots during the show’s first few seasons revolved around parenting and Lucy and Viv’s involvement in the community. But Lucy was still Lucy, meaning trouble for anyone who became involved in her ingenious schemes. Holding the keys to her trust fund was tightwad banker Mr. Barnsdahl (Charles Lane) who endured Lucy’s numerous attempts to get at more of her money.

At the start of the second season, Lucille met her perfect foil in Gale Gordon, who as banker Theodore J. Mooney, was now in charge of Lucy’s account. He bellowed (“Mrs. Carmichael!!!”), huffed, puffed and launched into hothead mode at the slightest provocation. Season two also marked the beginning of the series being filmed in color. Oddly, CBS was still transmitting its programming in black and white. It wasn’t until later reruns that these episodes were ever seen in color. (Desilu knew that color was inevitable and having shows shot in color would improve their value later in syndication.)

Tired of commuting from her home in the east for a supporting role, Vivian Vance left the show as a regular at the end of the third season. (She still made guest appearances every year or so.) This brought about major changes in the format of the series. In the fourth year, the writers had Lucy’s daughter go to college and her son enrolled in a military academy, effectively making Lucy single and childless. (Her kids were basically sent to that same black hole where son Chuck on Happy Days would be sent–the place where characters just disappear, never to be mentioned again.) Lucy moved to an apartment in Los Angeles where, in one of TV’s most unbelievable coincidences, Mr. Mooney had also transferred to work at the Westland Bank. He still had control over Lucy’s money; he would eventually hire her to work at the bank. In an effort to fill the void left by Viv’s departure, Joan Blondell was hired to play Lucy’s neighbor and partner in crime. Unfortunately, the two actresses did not get along and Blondell was released from her contract after just two shows.

Soon, I Love Lucy alumnus Mary Jane Croft would take over the sidekick role as Mary Jane Lewis. As the plots became centered on Lucy and Mr. Mooney at the bank the situations became increasingly more far-fetched. By the end, the series generally featured a weekly appearance by a famous star playing him or herself. The series was brought to a close by Ms. Ball who had sold Desilu Studios to Paramount. Rather than do a show she didn’t own, she canceled The Lucy Show, reformatted and returned in the fall with Here’s Lucy.

Cast and guest stars include Jerry Carmichael, Ralph Hart, Chris Carmichael, Mary Jane Lewis, James Gonzalez, Lucy Arnez,  Desi Arnaz Jr., Carol Burnett, Mel Tormé,  Harvey Korman, Paul Winchell, Stanley Adams, Milton Berle, Jack Benny,  Hans Conried, Ethel Merman,  Jackie Coogan, Stafford Repp,  William Schallert,  Barry Livingston, Danny Kaye,  Danny Thomas, George Burns,  Bob Crane,  Art Linkletter, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Robert Stack, John Wayne, Claude Akins, Frankie Avalon, Robert Goulet, Sheldon Leonard, Michael J. Pollard, Alan Reed, Pat Harrington Jr., Jay North, Jack Albertson,  Alan Hale Jr., Bernie Kopell, Peter Marshall, Pat Priest, William Frawley, John Carradine, Bob Hope, Janet Waldo,  Nancy Kulp, Jamie Farr, Majel Barrett, Wally Cox, Bob Burns, Sid Haig, Kirk Douglas, Buddy Hackett,Don Rickles, Edie Adams Ken Berry, Sid Caesar, Joan Crawford, Jimmy Durante, Edward G. Robinson, Joe Pesci and Jim Nabors. Extras include outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage, production notes, photo galleries, cast biographies, the musical comedy special Lucy in London and more!

 

9108zl7ytl-_sl1500_The Syndicate: All or Nothing
Acorn Media/ Released 11/15/16

The stately home of Hazelwood Manor has been in the family of Lord Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews) since the 18th century. But the once-impressive manor is crumbling, and its owners are burdened with 6.5 million in debt.

Lord and Lady Hazelwood (Alice Krige) have been forced to let go of most of the staff, and only five servants help maintain the estate.

But when the remaining staff wins the lottery, the lines between upstairs and downstairs begin to blur.

The cast includes Lenny Henry, Cara Theobold, Anthony Andrews, Alice Krige, Elizabeth Berrington, Melanie Hill, and Richard Rankin.

Includes the episodes:

  • Episode 1: Pregnant Dawn Stevenson and her daughter Amy work as maids at run down Hazelwood Manor, along with cook Julie and her daughter, manageress Sarah, gardener Godfrey and handyman Sean. Lord Hazelwood is kindly but an invalid and his imperious wife and her spoilt son Spencer run the household, paying poor wages as the family have heavy debts. To bring in cash the Hazelwoods host a party of visiting Americans and during their stay the six members of staff, who are members of a lottery syndicate, find that they have won fourteen million pounds. Whilst they are celebrating …
  • Episode 2: The syndicate members are interviewed by the police following Amy’s disappearance with bipolar Godfrey, who found her phone, being a prime suspect. Her father Andy believes she ran off with boyfriend Nick until her blood-stained apron is found on he moors. Lord Hazelwood begs Julie and Sarah to prevent his wife and her son selling the house to the American party if he dies and brings in an art expert to value his paintings, though when some prove to be fakes, he accuses Spencer of selling the originals. The group agrees to a press photo call where they announce their …
  • Episode 3: Whilst Spencer schemes behind his stepfather’s back hoping to sell the house to the Americans Lord Hazelwood – unlike his wife – is happy to sign the contract giving the staff part ownership of his home. Dawn however is preoccupied with finding Amy and is approached by a journalist, Laura, who tells her that Sean is a former sex offender. When questioned Sean admits that he served a prison term having had sex with a girl he did not know to be under-age but denies any involvement in Amy’s disappearance. Then Dawn gets a letter demanding a ransom for her daughter’s …
  • Episode 4: Keeping the ransom demand from the police the staff are divided as to whether to pay up or not and Sarah and Sean are angry when Godfrey decides to pay it without telling them. D.I. Baker is also displeased when she finds out, having had to release prime suspect Nick. Lord Hazelwood discovers that his wife wants to sell the house to the Americans for a larger sum than the syndicate offered and takes advice from their lawyer, who tells him he can rescind the power of attorney he gave her during his illness. Learning that she has been having an affair with family …
  • Episode 5: As Dawn tends to Andy’s bruised face they are interrupted by the police who tell them that Nick has been shot and who discover that the Stevensons seem to have paid the ransom. Andy admits to fighting Nick but denies shooting him whilst Dawn suspects her husband spent the money having an affair. However it transpires that he was purchasing a dream home for his family. Sarah and Sean, now lovers, discover that three years earlier whilst in shock following her husband’s death Julie stole a valuable clock from the Hazelwoods. When Julie is about to own up to it Lord …
  • Episode 6: It’s the day of Hazelwood Manor’s grand opening. Dawn’s shocked to discover Spencer was the last person to see Amy alive and the truth about her disappearance begins to unfold. Meanwhile, Lord Hazelwood tries to convince Julie to confess all to Sarah, or they risk losing everything.

 

91xw8gu5zxl-_sl1500_Wentworth Season 1
Acorn Media/ Released 11/15/16

Who was Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack) before prison? How did a wife and mother from the suburbs become a top dog without rival?

Wentworth is a dynamic, often confronting drama series that begins with Bea’s early days in prison. Set in the present day, it is a modern adaptation of Prisoner that contemporizes legendary characters and their stories for today’s audience.

This ten-part first season takes the viewer inside to an uncompromising environment that explores the politics of women in a world without men, and how such a threatening experience both challenges and often changes those confined and working behind the razor wire.

Wentworth also stars Kate Atkinson, Celia Ireland, Shareena Clanton, Robbie Magasiva and Katrina Milosevic.

Extras include featurette, cast and crew interviews, set tour, and photo gallery.

Includes the episodes:

  • No Place Like Home: Bea Smith enters prison after being charged with the attempted murder of her husband. Bea is separated from her daughter and sent to Wentworth on remand. She is then forced to learn how the prison works.
  • Fly Me Away: After Meg’s tragic death, Will threatens Doreen saying that if drugs are found, Kaiya will be taken off her. Bea tries to contact Debbie, however Harry keeps picking up and eventually comes to see her. The prisoners try to get information out of Liz, who is working with the officers to discover the identity of Meg’s murderer. After threatening to kill Bea, Doreen reveals that Kaiya is actually Toni’s daughter and her own died after Doreen crashed her car. Matt and Will have a run in after Will begins to snort cocaine. Kaiya is taken off Doreen permanently. Vera finds …
  • The Girl Who Waited: Bea gets caught between top rivals, Jacs and Franky. We learn the reason for Franky being inside Wentworth. When participating in a reality TV show that taught ex-offenders how to cook, she physically attacked the host with a pan of boiling oil after he mocked her live on TV. Jacs forces Bea to bring the steam press down on Frankys hand when Jacs threatens Bea’s daughter. Franky cuts all ties with her estranged Father when he visits her to apologise for abandoning her when she was 10.
  • The Things We Do: Ronnie forces her young daughter, Amy, to smuggle heroin into the prison, but when Amy goes into cardiac arrest, Ronnie is harassed by the other women. Doreen and Boomer conspire over home brew that has been fermenting for months. Bea begins to doubt whether she can take on Jacs after Jacs threatens the life of Debbie. Liz is told that her parole is being looked over and she organisms an afternoon for the ladies to talk about their problems. We discover that Liz is an alcoholic and after drinking all the home brew, she reveals her story – she killed her mother-in-law….
  • The Velvet Curtain: Erica begins to dream about having sex with Franky and begins to wonder whether her fiancé is really the person she wants to be with. Liz begins drinking methylated spirits and collapses when Doreen puts bleach in it. The rivalry between Franky and Jacs escalates. Doreen is offered the peer worker job after Liz is fired. Bea, Boomer, Franky and Liz discuss masturbation.
  • Captive: Bea feels threatened when Harry says he may not be able to deal with their daughter any longer.
  • Something Dies: Erica, Vera, Matt and Will decide it is time to release Franky from solitary. Doreen betrays Franky by siding with Jacs but she was actually helping her. Bea – after learning that Jacs and her gang are planning on ganging Franky – confronts Jacs and gets beaten up. When Franky is released, she is threatened, however the tables turn and she slams Jacs hand in an exercise machine. Will – who is using drugs frequently – discovers that while he and Meg were trying for a baby, Meg did fall pregnant and three weeks before she died, had an abortion. Vera and Matt’s romance …
  • Mind Games: Three weeks after being attacked, Bea is in her element. Erica is wary that the rivalry for top dog now consists of Franky, Jacs and Bea. Jacs is told that she should go into protection for the rest of her stay but refuses. Will is blackmailed by Jacs as she has photos of him with a drug dealer. Vera brings arthritis painkillers into the prison for Jacs after it is revealed Vera began the riot that killed Meg by telling Jacs to start it. As Bea tries to get hold of her daughter, Debbie, Jacs’ son Brayden gets her hooked on heroin. Jacs tells Brayden to end things with…
  • To the Moon: After Bea is informed of Debbie’s death, she – along with Liz and Doreen – has to argue with Erica about whether she can go to her daughter’s funeral or not. After being told she can go, Bea is left heartbroken when permission is revoked and she tries to hang herself.
  • Checkmate: Vera and Matt sleep together but when Vera finds out the shocking truth – Matt and Meg were having an affair, she fell pregnant and had an abortion – Matt tells her to get out of his life. Determined to find out who killed Meg, Will makes a deal with Jacs, however he later discovers Meg’s bracelet in Jacs’ cell. After threatening to kill her, Will has Jacs charged with Meg’s murder. Liz and Franky talk about what really happened the day of Meg’s murder: Franky went to find Jacs, and grabbed a knife. When Meg grabbed her arm, Franky thought it was Jacs and stabbed her….

 

163924_frontHannie Caulder
Olive Signature / Released 11/15/16

Revenge is a loaded gun in director Burt Kennedy’s Hannie Caulder.

Raquel Welch (One Million Years B.C., 100 Rifles, and Myra Breckinridge) smolders as Hannie, a widow sworn to avenge her own brutal rape and husband’s murder at the hands of Emmett (Ernest Borgnine, The Wild Bunch), Frank (Jack Elam, Support Your Local Sheriff), and Rufus (Strother Martin, Cool Hand Luke), three of the most despicable scoundrels to have ever roamed the prairie. Eager for revenge, but lacking the gunfighter’s know-how, Hannie soon discovers new confidence and skill when bounty hunter Thomas Luther Price (Robert Culp, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) teaches her the way of the gun.

In no time, Hannie is strapping on her six shooter and setting out to put a few notches on its handle. Co-starring the legendary Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula), playing against type as a sympathetic gunsmith who befriends her, Hannie Caulder hits its target from ten paces. Extras include commentary, featurette, interview and essay.

 

141129_frontBetter Call Saul: Season 2
Sony / Released 11/15/16

Season Two of Better Call Saul follows the twists and turns of Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk) journey toward becoming his Breaking Bad alter ego, along the way soaring to new heights and sinking to new lows.

Jimmy grows closer to confidante Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), while his relationship with afflicted brother Chuck McGill (Michael McKean) becomes increasingly complex.

Mike (Jonathan Banks) finds himself pulled deeper into the criminal underworld. As Jimmy evolves (or regresses) toward “it’s all good man,” he’s faced with impossible choices that foreshadow his future.

Back stories are further revealed, along with new characters and nods to the Breaking Bad universe.  Extras include commentaries, gag reel, table read, featurettes, and Saul Goodman’s commercials.

Episodes include:

  • Switch: Jimmy decides to quit the law after turning down a job at Davis & Main. Mike breaks ties with a former associate.
  • Cobbler: While Mike attempts to track down Pryce’s stolen baseball cards, Jimmy must defend him when the police call him in for further questioning.
  • Amarillo: Jimmy struggles with client outreach and decides to shoot a TV commercial for Davis & Main. Mike begins an investigation.
  • Gloves Off: Jimmy and Kim face the repercussions of the TV commercial. Mike makes a deal with Nacho in regards to his newest job offer.
  • Rebecca: Jimmy chafes under his restrictive work environment; Kim goes to extremes to dig herself from a bottomless hole at HHM.
  • Bali Ha’i: Jimmy finds comfort in familiarity; Kim receives a life-changing proposal; when he is threatened, Mike finds himself pushed to the limit.
  • Inflatable: When Mike’s hand is forced, he can no longer hide his frustration; Mike and Jimmy work together to keep the peace.
  • Fifi: Mike aims to settle the score with an enemy; an unexpected opportunity presents itself to Jimmy.
  • Nailed: Mike takes a methodical approach to his mission; someone questions Chuck’s capabilities; Jimmy faces a personal dilemma.
  • Klick: Jimmy must make a hard choice; Mike takes control of matters; Hamlin delivers shocking news.

 

44352_frontDead Ringers
Shout! Factory / Released 11/15/16

Claire Niveau (Geneviève Bujold) is in love with handsome Beverly. Or does she love Elliot? It’s uncertain because brothers Beverly and Elliot Mantle are identical twins sharing the same medical practice, apartment and women – including unsuspecting Claire.

In portrayals that won the New York Film Critics Circle Best Actor Award, Jeremy Irons plays twin gynecologists whose emotional dependency collapses into mind games, madness and murder.

David Cronenberg (The Fly) won the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards Best Director honors for melding split-screen techniques, body doubles and Iron’s uncanny acting into an eerie, fact-based tale.

Extras include new transfer, commentary tracks, alternate version at Cronenberg’s preferred aspect ration, interviews, vintage featurette and interview and trailer.

 

81bmt-i5wal-_sl1500_Chicken People
Sony / Released 11/22/16

Chicken may be just food for most people, but raising the perfect chicken is an all-consuming passion for some.

CMT has partnered with Emmy Award-winning Motto Pictures, and Emmy nominated director Nicole Lucas Haimes for Chicken People, a documentary that takes a charming and fascinating look at the colorful and hugely competitive world of champion show chicken breeders.

A real life Best in Show but about chickens, the film follows the struggles and triumphs of both humans and their chickens on the road to compete at the Ohio National Poultry Show, considered the Westminster of Chickens.

 

 

 

81kndwzecal-_sl1500_Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXXVII
Shout! Factory / Released 11/22/16

Once a year, we also give thanks for turkeys of the cinematic variety. Now, get ready to feast on four never before on DVD episodes: The Human Duplicators, Escape 2000, The Horror of Party Beach, and Invasion of the Neptune Men.

Volume XXXVII brings us The Human Duplicators, a 1965  science fiction film about an alien, the cybernetic physicist he controls and the blind girl he falls for.

Escape 2000 (aka Bronx Warriors 2 and Escape from the Bronx), wherein generic and nefarious corporation gentrifies a Bronx neighborhood to death in the service of creating the city of the future. But when they kill the parents of the first movie’s hero, they are in for some action, low-budget 80s style.

Teens and monsters have always had a complicated relationship status in the movies, but The Horror of Party Beach kicks it down a notch or eight, as a coastal town grapples with mutated fishmen who crash a beach party in hideous fashion.

Invasion of the Neptune Men, which stars martial arts legend Sonny Chiba as Space Chief, a superhero of sorts, in this 1961 kids movie of sorts about an alien invasion of sorts.

Extras include new introductions by Mary Jo Pehl, MST Hour Wraps, featurettes, trailers and mini-posters.

 

91ede9lpnl-_sl1500_Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Magnolia / Released 11/22/16

In Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, the Oscar-nominated documentarian Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams) chronicles the virtual world from its origins to its outermost reaches, exploring the digital landscape with the same curiosity and imagination he previously trained on earthly destinations as disparate as the Amazon, the Sahara, the South Pole and the Australian outback.

Herzog leads viewers on a journey through a series of provocative conversations that reveal the ways in which the online world has transformed how virtually everything in the real world works – from business to education, space travel to healthcare, and the very heart of how we conduct our personal relationships.

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World features interviews with famed internet pioneers and visionaries including Bob Kahn (Co-Inventor of Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol), Elon Musk (Founder and CEO of SpaceX) and Kevin Mitnick (Hacker, Author and Computer Security Consultant). Extras include interview with Herzog and trailer.

 

51wfpljomplTexas Rising/ Sons Of Liberty Double Feature
Lionsgate / Released 11/22/16

Includes two of HISTORY’s highly celebrated miniseries, Texas Rising and Sons of Liberty.

Texas Rising: HISTORY brings to life the thrilling and inspiring true story of how the state of Texas fought for its freedom from the rule of Mexican General Santa Anna and the formation of America’s most legendary law enforcement agency — The Texas Rangers.

The all-star cast includes Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Thomas Jane, Olivier Martinez, Chad Michael Murray, Max Thieriot, Kris Kristofferson, and Jake Busey.  Extras include featurettes.

Sons Of Liberty: Follow the stirring drama of the infamous Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride, and the Battle of Lexington as the colonies join forces as a single, united country in the most epic revolution of our time.

The outstanding cast features Ben Barnes as Sam Adams, Henry Thomas as John Adams, Dean Norris as Ben Franklin, Michael Raymond-James as Paul Revere, Jason O’Mara as George Washington, and Ryan Eggold as Dr. Joseph Warren. Extras include featurettes.

 

919kbtdvbwl-_sl1500_American Experience: Tesla
PBS / Released 11/22/16

Nikola Tesla has come to be seen by many as a tragic figure, a visionary engineer who died impoverished and largely forgotten–eclipsed by names such as Edison and Marconi.

A tireless inventor who registered numerous patents and developed many working prototypes, Tesla would become most famous for his dazzling demonstrations. Audiences flocked to see him send thousands of volts of electricity pulsing through his body, dazzled by the spectacle of the inventor seemingly on fire. Even more read about his claims of receiving signals from outer space and his plans for using the earth’s natural charge to distribute free electricity.

Tesla the strange wizard and mad scientist overtook Tesla the brilliant engineer–the seer of the wireless world we now live in.

Lost in the spectacular rise and fall was the real man, a consummate inventor and dedicated engineer. That his ideas ricocheted from tangible inventions to projections of a future with head-spinning possibilities only partly explained his downfall. Yet it was his technology that helped drive the electrical age in the 20th century, and his vision that imagined the wireless world of the 21st century. In Tesla, American Experience chronicles the life of a man whose ideas revolutionized his time, and ours.

 

91o21wgv5l-_sl1500_Sneakerheadz
Film Rise / Released 11/22/16

To Rock or Stock?

Sneakerheads will do almost anything to get their hands on a unique pair of kicks, going to such extreme lengths as hiding in trash cans to score a pair of Retro Jordan 11s to camping for days in sub zero temperatures for the latest Nike Foamposites.

How did sneakers become as prized as collectable art? From the shores of Cali to the congested streets of Tokyo, Sneakerheadz examines the cultural influence of sneaker collecting around the world and delves into a subculture whose proud members don’t just want to admire art, they want to wear it.

 

 

 

160553_frontTo Live and Die in L.A.
Shout! Factory / Released 11/22/16

William Petersen (Manhunter) and Willem Dafoe (John Wick) face off in a deadly game of cat and mouse in this “riveting” (The New York Times) action-thriller from the Oscar-winning director of The French Connection.

This raw tale of corruption and revenge features one of the most harrowing car chases ever caught on film and a shockingly explosive ending.

Federal agent Richard Chance (Petersen) has a score to settle, and he’s through playing by the rules. Whether that means blackmailing a beautiful parolee, disobeying direct orders or hurtling the wrong way down a crowded freeway, he vows to take down a murderous counterfeiter (Dafoe) by any means necessary. But as the stakes grow higher, will chance’s obsession with vengeance ultimately destroy him?

Extras include commentary, interviews, deleted scenes, making of, still gallery, theatrical trailer, and radio spot.

 

91538_frontRabid
Shout! Factory / Released 11/22/16

After undergoing radical emergency surgery, Rose (former adult film star Marilyn Chambers in her first leading role in a mainstream film) develops an insatiable desire for blood.

She searches out victims to satisfy her incurable craving, infecting them with an unknown disease which in turn swiftly drives them insane… and makes them equally bloodthirsty.

Follow the lovely but deadly Rose through her terrifying ordeal as victim by victim, the spreading circle of casualties grows… until no one can escape their grisly fate of becoming… Rabid.  Extras include new scan at director’s preferred aspect ratio, interviews, commentaries, archival interview, video essay, trailer and tv spots, radio spots and still gallery.

Last Word: On one hand this seems a liability, but on the other hand, sexual adventurousness is one of Rabid‘s themes. Indeed, the only 70s horror film to address the free-love scene more cogently was Invasion of the Bee Girls.

More than a few swingers meet a gruesome end in Rabid. Rose’s new orifice is oral, anal, vaginal, and phallic at once; and its needle-tipped tongue even brings drug connotations into the mix. Still, to anyone who has seen Cronenberg’s Shivers, Rabid is a disappointment. The characters are different but the concepts and situations are the same. Again we get botched medicine and a bodily infection/mutation.

Rabid lacks the humor of Shivers but offers no emotional or intellectual depth in compensation. Most scenes are a sequence of killings, with little intrigue. All things considered this movie was a step backwards for the great Cronenberg.

There are two things I like better in Rabid than in Shivers. First, the tail ending, which is more of a surprise. Second: the main character is victim and villain at once, forcing us to have mixed sympathies. Yet I wish that Rose had been made more aware of her situation. She scarcely knows what she is. Perhaps she should have been forced to justify her vampiric existence to herself in the way that Jeff Goldblum’s character justifies his transformation in Cronenberg’s remake of The Fly. Chambers is fine in her mostly-clothed role, but she returned to porn after this film. (-David E. Goldweber)

 

118378_frontMechanic Resurrection
Released 11/22/16

Following a carefully staged death by fiery explosion years before, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) had come to believe he’d gotten out of the assassination business.  The goal: a life of retirement and anonymity.

In this instance, though, Bishop wasn’t able to fool everyone.  Someone knows he’s alive, someone who was once very close to Bishop.  Ruthless businessman Crain (Sam Hazeldine) needs the services of a contract killer who can make the deaths of his victims look like accidents. As the only individual with inside knowledge about Bishop’s former life, Crain will do whatever it takes in order to get the mechanic to come out of retirement and provide his unique services.

Normally, Bishop wouldn’t consider the possibility, since threats to his own being aren’t about to weaken a resolve built up over years of perilous work.  This particular nemesis however, knows the one card to play that will spur Bishop to comply with his demands—the safety and the life of an enigmatic woman (Jessica Alba) for whom Bishop has developed feelings.

With no other way out, Bishop agrees to return once more to the world he tried so painstakingly to leave behind.  This time, he is tasked with the elimination of three unsavory targets protected under intense levels of security, including one of the world’s top arms dealers (Tommy Lee Jones).  Bishop must travel the globe to complete his objective for the sake of a woman. If he can determine how these three men are linked, and why his employer wants them eliminated, he might find the edge he needs in turning the tables on a vicious man who for now has the upper hand.

For the first time in his chosen profession, the mechanic has a new motivation for completing his assignment.  Because this time, it’s very, very personal…Extras include featurettes.

 

164313_frontC.H.U.D II: Bud The Chud
Lionsgate / Released 11/22/16

Kevin, Steve, and Katie are an inseparable trio of friends doing some extracurricular snooping in the school science lab when, among the test tubes and beakers, they discover a corpse!

But before they can say “Abra Cadaver,” the body disappears, rolling down Route 51 strapped to a gurney.

The kids need a spare stiff, and fast.

What they find is “Bud the Chud,” a half-dead decomposing humanoid, the result of a military experiment gone haywire. When Bud sets out on a killing spree, the kids, the Army, the police, and the FBI are hot on his trail, trying to save the entire town from becoming “Chudified!”

Extras include commentary, interviews and still gallery.

 

164314_frontReturn Of The Living Dead 3
Lionsgate / Released 11/22/16

In Return of the Living Dead: Part II, the chemical Trioxin turned people into flesh-eating zombies.

Now, the government is trying to control these unstoppable cannibalistic killers in Return of the Living Dead 3. When a young man uses the chemical to bring his girlfriend back to life after a motorcycle accident, she is driven to eat the only thing that will nourish her…human brains!

She tries to stop her own feeding frenzy but a chain reaction has already begun, as hordes of undead are unleashed from their graves!

Extras include commentaries, conversation between director Brian Yunta and screenwriter John Penney, interviews and still gallery.

 

162054_frontI.T.
Sony / Released 11/22/16

In I.T., Mike Regan (Pierce Brosnan) is a successful, self-made man who has it all: a gorgeous wife, a beautiful teenage daughter and a sleek, state-of-the-art “smart home.”

But he soon finds himself in a deadly, high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse when his I.T. consultant (James Frecheville) starts using his skills to stalk Mike’s daughter and endanger his family, his business, and his life.

In a world where there is no privacy, and personal secrets can go viral by the click of a mouse, Mike needs to rely on his old connections to defeat a new kind of nemesis.

Extras include making of, trailer and photo gallery.

 

162819_frontHands Of Stone
Weinstein / Released 11/22/16

Hands Of Stone follows the life of Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez), the Panamanian fighter who made his professional debut in 1968 as a 16 year‐old and retired in 2002 at the age of 50.

In June 1980, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) to capture the WBC welterweight title, but shocked the boxing world by returning to his corner in their November rematch, famously saying the words “no mas” (no more.)

Extras include featurette, deleted scenes and music videos.

 

 

162479_frontKubo and the Two Strings
Universal / Released 11/22/16

Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of Game of Thrones) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro).

But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta.

Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known.

With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.  Extras include featurettes and commentary.

Last Word: When I first began seeing ads for Kubo and the Two Strings over a year or so ago, I was intrigued and hopeful, mainly because it was produced by Laika, which is responsible for some brilliant cinematic animation, my favorite so far being Coraline, written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Henry Selick.

With this in my mind, I watched Kubo and the Two Strings with very high expectations., and not only did it meet them, it soared above and beyond them to provide me with a wealth of visual eye candy to go along with a heart wrenchingly gorgeous story about destiny, family, and the power of unconditional love.

As is Laika’s reputation, stunning traditional stop motion animation is back in the spotlight again, and it is glorious. It is mixed seamlessly with more modern 3D computer animation to bring Kubo’s world alive. There are moments where I forgot that the movie is all hand animated with actual 3D models and maquettes. Sure, they are now assisted by some more modern computer motion controlled armatures and gimbals, but this is still all physical models shot on real sets. The movie overall is beautiful, but definitely be sure stay for the really neat after credit sequence.

The plot of the film is about the son of a great samurai, Kubo (Game of Thrones’ Art Parkinson), and his mother, who now reside on a remote island after some personal tragedies. The mother is sick and her son takes care of her. He provides for her by going down into the local village and making money by telling tales of wonder about the battles between samurai and evil spirits. Kubo is gifted with certain magic from his mother with which he can make paper and light objects fly and animate with the music he produces from the samisen, a three stringed Japanese lute played with a very large pick.

All is going well until Kubo forgets about the one caveat his mother gave him, that he must be back after dark, because Kubo’s evil twin aunts (Rooney Mara) and grandfather (Ralph Finnes) are looking for him and want to return him to their magical realm in the heavens. Kubo must find two magical pieces of armor and a special sword to defeat them. Along the way in his quest he befriends a guardian Monkey (Charlize Theron) and a cursed Samurai (Matthew McConaughey) who has been transformed into a beetle.

To say any more would be to ruin the surprises, the beautiful reveals, and the well written script, and I am definitely NOT going to do that. I have already said too much.

What I will say is that the voice actors are wonderfully cast. I am sure someone out there is already complaining that the main vocal cast is all white in a Japanese-inspired movie. It didn’t bother me. As an Asian and as a pretty vocal caller-out of whitewashing in Hollywood I think that the actor choices are fine in this fantasy film. Yes, it is Asian inspired, but there is a huge difference between actors providing the voices for characters and “yellow facing”. Let this one go folks. It neither harms nor effects the film negatively in anyway.

Laika Studios CEO and lead animator Travis Knight knocked this one out into the atmosphere. This was his first time helming a feature, and he crushed it. It helps that he had a near perfect script by Marc Haimes and Chris Buttler (ParaNorman) from a story by Butler and Shannon Tindle (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends). The pedigree for this production team is impeccable, and it shines in every way imaginable.

In this time of uninspired remakes, sequels, poorly written “blockbusters,” and giant-budgeted action-spectaculars that are anything but, Kubo and the Two Strings is not only refreshing, it is recharging. It gives me hope. It makes me believe in my fellow man. I’ve seen it several times, because I didn’t get enough beautiful ugly sobbing the first time. That right there should be reason enough for anyone to want to go.

Is it perfect? No, but it isn’t hindered by its flaws. What the filmmakers have done is to take a relatively generic story and give it some TLC and imagination and created a wonderful film. This kind of genuinely loving filmmaking only comes around once in a while, and I cherish it’s very existence. (-Benn Robbins)

 

156447_frontHell Or High Water
Lionsgate / Released 11/22/16

Texas brothers–Toby (Chris Pine), and Tanner (Ben Foster), come together after years divided to rob branches of the bank threatening to foreclose on their family land.

For them, the hold-ups are just part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that seemed to have been stolen from under them.

Justice seems to be theirs, until they find themselves on the radar of Texas Ranger, Marcus (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last grand pursuit on the eve of his retirement, and his half-Comanche partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham).

As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their scheme, and with the Rangers on their heels, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the values of the Old and New West murderously collide.  Extras include featurettes, red carpet feature and filmmaker Q & A.

 

163548_frontWar Dogs
Warner Bros. / Released 11/22/16

War Dogs follows two friends in their early 20s (Hill and Teller) living in Miami Beach during the Iraq War who exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts. Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life. But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military–a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government. Extras include featurettes and trailers.

Last Word:  Based on true events that prove I should have thought outside the box instead of settling for a job at Bath & Body Works comes War Dogs. 

This movie follows two friends: David Packouz (Miles Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), who are in their early 20’s and living in Miami Beach during the 2003 Iraq War. These two exploited a little-known government initiative that allows smaller businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts.

Starting small, they begin raking in the cash and live the life rap stars preach about. But like all good things involving greed and self-centeredness, the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan military — a deal which connects them with shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government.

It might have been one of the biggest hustles ever… and it could only happen in America.

It all started during the George W. Bush administration when huge, no-bid contracts to supply the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were being awarded to conglomerates like Halliburton, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin. As criticism of the perceived cronyism and war-profiteering grew, the government decided to level the playing field with FedBizOpps, which opened the bidding on military contracts to… well… virtually anyone. Unfortunately, there were just enough loopholes to make it possible to take advantage of the system, like our two friends.

War Dogs is director Todd Phillips’ first true story, which is based on the tale chronicled in a 2011 Rolling Stone article entitled “Arms and Dudes” by Guy Lawson. Feeling very similar to his comedy The Hangover, without the never ending jokes, War Dogs shows Phillips growing as a director. Phillips brings a finesse that we haven’t seen before. He balances between naturally hilarious moments (like an all-out battle for gas in Fallujah, aka the Triangle of Death) and strong dramatic scenes. He is able to bring out the best in his actors. Unlike other comedies, such as Dirty Grandpa, nothing feels forced, which helps the audience to stay in the moment.

Visually, War Dogs is a large feat even for Phillips. It’s a movie that showcases every technique, ploy and stylistic invention since his first film. However instead of everything becoming a complete mess, he’s able to blend the styles without any hiccups. Thanks to cinematographer Lawrence Sher, this makes for a rather gorgeous production.

When we meet Efraim and David, they don’t appear to be the international arms dealer types. These are just two guys who had been best friends in junior high, but lost touch (as most people do). Hill steps into the role as a leader, where nothing seems impossible. Taking David under his wing as a big brother of sorts, he’s extreme, gaudy and explosive. However, he’s also lonely — something that is hidden behind all of his superficiality.

Hill manages to effortlessly play a character who is a chameleon; incredibly charming when he needs to be, with amorousness, drive and intelligence to maneuver through any obstacles. He is also completely untrustworthy, which is great for a story that has any many carefully executed plot twists. This is one of Hill’s best works, for it shows his versatility in one role.

Teller (as David) finds himself caught up in the world of financial freedom. Ever hesitant, he is more of the conscience of the operation; the complete opposite of Efraim. Selling bed sheets, he’s struggling to make ends meet when Efraim shows up. We see this downtrodden character who is barely hanging on to his sanity transform into an energized, excited man who is finally able to provide for his pregnant girlfriend. However, the more money he makes and the more he allows himself to be happy, we see him becoming the kind of person the real David would hate. This facade he puts up to protect those around him creates an inner conflict.

War Dogs is also full of supporting characters who all help create rather serious consequences and add depth to the story. Ana de Armas as David’s significant other avoids becoming the stereotypical whiny girlfriend. Instead, she actually supports her boyfriend despite being kept in the dark. Where female characters tend to be placed to the side in comedies, de Armas goes toes to-to-toe with the banter and jokes, which makes the chemistry between her and Teller feel authentic.

Bradley Cooper, as Henry Girard, is a complicated villain that is not onscreen much but he is memorable as the guy who’s been on both sides of every conflict. Henry is definitely not somebody you would ever want to cross in any shape or form. He is an amalgamation of different people.

In the end, War Dogs is simply fun. Laughing at, and with, the ignorance of the protagonists, it makes for a great way to escape the summer heat. Despite knowing exactly how it’ll end, Phillips makes the journey fun even during the paper-thin ending where everything falls apart, both in the script and their operation. This film plays more as a “we need money” love letter and less of a political commentary (which probably explains why it wasn’t released theatrically during award season).

War Dogs is not perfect, but so few comedies ever are. However, fans of Phillips will not be disappointed in this R-rated fun-fest, while non-fans will have a positive lasting impression. (– Dana Abercrombie)

 

79125_frontC.H.U.D.
Arrow / Released 11/22/16

From the subterranean depths it crawls! Finally making its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray, director Douglas Cheek’s cult ‘80s favorite C.H.U.D. is the ultimate underground movie experience.

In downtown Manhattan, a police captain’s hunt for his missing wife leads to the discovery of a series of mysterious disappearances in the area.

Extending his search into the tunnels and sewers below the city streets, it soon becomes clear that something monstrous is lurking in that subterranean world – and it won’t stay there much longer…

Starring John Heard, Christopher Curry and Daniel Stern alongside an early appearance from John Goodman, C.H.U.D. has justifiably built up a huge cult following in the years since its release in 1984, with one of the most iconic creature designs of the period.  Extras include commentary, interviews and trailer.

 

91kp4vxefwl-_sl1500_The Childhood of a Leader
IFC / Released 11/22/16

A childs angelic face conceals a budding sociopath in the audacious, senses-shattering feature debut from actor Brady Corbet. A powerhouse international cast led by Robert Pattinson and Bérénice Bejo (The Artist) headlines this dark domestic nightmare.

Set amidst the turmoil of World War I and its aftermath, it follows the young son of an American diplomat living in France as he learns to manipulate the adults around him-a monstrous coming of age that ominously parallels the rising tide of Fascism in Europe.

A stylistically fearless tour-de-force, The Childhood of a Leader reaches fever-pitch delirium thanks to ravishing cinematography and a thunderous score by legendary, boundary-pushing musician Scott Walker.

 

164784_frontArmy of One
Anchor Bay/ Released 11/15/16

Gary Faulkner (Nicolas Cage) is an ex-con, unemployed handyman, and modern day Don Quixote who receives a vision from God (Russell Brand) telling him to capture Osama Bin Laden.

Armed with only a single sword purchased from a home-shopping network, Gary travels to Pakistan to complete his mission. While on his quest, Gary encounters old friends back home in Colorado, the new friends he makes in Pakistan, the enemies he makes at the CIA – and even God and Osama themselves.

Wendi McLendon-Covey, Rainn Wilson, and Paul Scheer also star in this hilarious tale of patriotism and one man’s quest for justice.

Extras include making of.

 

89352_2lSuperhero Origins: Three Classic Serials
Mill Creek / Released 10/4/16

Includes three complete serials:

Batman (1943): Watch as mild-mannered Bruce Wayne (Lewis Wilson) becomes Batman, the classic superhero who, with Robin (Douglas Croft), protects Gotham City from the evil schemes of Dr. Tito Daka (J. Carrol Naish). Packed with adventures involving a radium-powered death ray, a deadly alligator pit, electronic zombies, and even the original Bat Cave and Batmobile.

Batman and Robin (1949): Join superheroes Batman (Robert Lowery) and Robin (John Duncan) as they help Commissioner Gordon (Lyle Talbot, Glen or Glenda, Plan 9 From Outer Space) battle the Wizard, a villainous madman who steals a top-secret remote device allowing him to control all the moving vehicles in Gotham. Between The Wizard trying to destroy them and Bruce Wayne’s love interest Vicky Vale (Jane Adams) working to uncover their identities, The Dynamic Duo careen from one nail-biting cliffhanger to the next as they set out to save Gotham and foil The Wizard’s plan for world domination.

The Shadow (1940): With dynamited railroads, wrecked airplanes and blown-up industrial plants, nothing is safe from the machinations of the secret mastermind of the underworld known only as The Black Tiger. Enter the black garbed, masked figure known as The Shadow, a mysterious force for law and order, who disguised as Lamont Cranston (Victor Jory) sets his agents into action to combat this evil. But the police are convinced that the Black Tiger and The Shadow are one and the same. With both the hoodlums and the police gunning for The Shadow, Cranston is in for the fight of his life. His beautiful assistant, Margo Lane (Veda Ann Borg) is in constant peril as well. Right out of the air waves and magazine stories comes the mysterious Shadow to do battle with an enemy who can become invisible! Can he triumph over this unseen evil? You will learn the answer at the end of Chapter fifteen! Based upon “The Shadow” character appearing in pulp magazines and on the radio. Directed by James W. Horne

 

162219_frontPete’s Dragon
Disney / Released 11/29/16

For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley).

Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot.

And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meachams stories.

With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.  Extras include Director’s Diary, featurette, montage of cut scenes, commentary, bloopers and music videos.

Last Word: Pete’s Dragon is a work of art, and when I say this, I literally mean Pete’s dragon—the green, giant, winged creature named Elliot that plays such an obvious and important role in the grand context of Disney’s latest family film.

A reimagining of the same studio’s 1977 live-action/animation hybrid, Disney breathes excellent new life into this story in all the right ways—beginning with, of course, the dragon.

Elliot is a product of remarkable visual CGI fabrication and even more astounding sound design, which combine to create a fantastical being who feels undeniably real, personable and rich. Close-ups of Elliot’s expressive eyes bring a perfect duality of spines chills and hearth warmth, as do his equally communicative cadences of growly purrs from deep down in his belly.

Just these efforts alone deserve recognition. Luckily, they exist in a film that consistently matches these qualities in nearly every way.

Directed by David Lowery (2013’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) from a debut screenplay by Toby Halbrooks, the film follows the adventure of a 10-year-old boy named Pete (fantastic newcomer Oakes Fegley, playing his take on a less-annoying version of the kid from last year’s Room).  Six years after a car crash claimed the lives of his parents (tastefully and uniquely filmed, by the way), Pete is discovered in the woods and taken in by small town forest ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), her fiancé Jack (Wes Bentley) and his daughter Natalie (Oona Laurence).

Only problem? Pete’s been living the past six years in the woods with his best friend, Elliot—an entity who until now was known only as the “Millhaven Dragon,” a fiction promoted through the yarns spun to neighborhood children by Grace’s father, Meacham (Robert Redford).

The trajectory of conflict occurs when Elliot is discovered by Jack’s brother, Gavin (Karl Urban), and his motley crew of construction workers currently tearing down trees in the forest for redevelopment. Gavin is a pretty thinly written villain, spewing cliché lines like “Boys, let’s go hunting!” and “That’s my dragon!” all while Urban delivers a scowl better suited to his role as Bones in the newest Star Trek films.

Thankfully, the movie doesn’t lose itself too much in this conflict, nor does it get wrapped up in some shoehorned environmental message (a worry I had early on as Bryce Dallas Howard walked around the forest, sadly shaking her head at all the trees marked with red spray paint). No, Pete’s Dragon is far more focused on elements of love, bonding, family and community—and these target zones accumulate into something truly grand. Lowery directs the film with a folksy, intimate vibe that turns the small town of Millhaven into a character in and of itself, while you can detect an almost Altman-esque capturing of all the townsfolk, even those without lines.

But this is Pete and Elliot’s story, through and through, as well as what this boy and beast (or, dog, if you will, considering Elliot’s canine-like personality traits) bring to the family of Grace, Jack and Natalie.

Here is where Pete’s Dragon finds its raw emotional power, and it’s all encapsulated in my very favorite scene from the movie, and one of my most cherished cinematic moments so far this year. It follows an action sequence of peril where lives were at risk, and the aftermath pinpoints exactly what this movie is all about—love.

When the major characters are reunited, Grace runs to her father. Jack runs to his daughter. And Pete runs to his dragon. All embraced in hugs while the score swelled and I wept softly in my seat. (– Greg Vellante)

 

148413_frontThe BFG
Disney / Released 11/29/16

Disney presents a Roald Dahl classic directed by Steven Spielberg. The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

Starring Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Bill Hader, and Adam Godley. Extras include featurettes.

Last Word: Steven Spielberg’s films over the last 10 years have been hit and miss and, unfortunately, The BFG (which stands for “Big Friendly Giant) is a big miss.

The problem is not in the casting: Newcomer Ruby Barnhill is quite winning and plucky as orphan Sophie and Mark Rylance – who just picked up an Oscar for his extremely understated turn as a Cold War spy in Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies – brings a crinkly warmth and charm to the odd-speaking giant. Ditto Penelope Wilton as Queen Elizabeth, who’s remarkably unsurprised to find herself giving tea to a 24-foot giant.

No, the problem begins about 10 minutes into the film when The BFG spirits Sophie away to Giant Country after she spots him out on his nightly dream-planting rounds in London. I may watch far too much SVU and Forensic Files, but it’s hard not to feel uneasy about a giant man telling a 10-year-old he’s going to keep her with him in his awful cave for the rest of her life. But that nagging concern aside, the film grows tedious by focusing on just these two characters.

True, Sophie hated the orphanage and adjusts quickly to her new surroundings, and The BFG is also clearly in need of a friend as he’s bullied by the other bigger, meaner giants. But their friendship, which is the bulk of the film, is just not that compelling. We’re supposed to ooh and aah as he reluctantly takes her on his nightly hunting rounds for rogue dreams, which are represented by whizzing, multi-colored balls of lights. But the magic Spielberg and John Williams are clearly nudging us to feel throughout this too-long interval just isn’t there.

As for the other giants, well, they might as well have stomped in from that other, much-maligned giant film Jack the Giant Slayer. Where is it written that all giants must be grotesque, dim-witted creatures who enjoy farting and kicking each other in the groin? The film spends entirely too much time in Giant Country. Once he and Sophie determine they’ve got to appeal to the Queen of England to stop the other giants’ murderous ways, the film finally picks up.

Watching The BFG delicately navigating his way through Buckingham Palace and the guards trying to keep their cool is the best part of the film, not to mention everyone, including the Queen and her corgis, partaking in the giant’s “whizzpopping” special drink that results in indecorous, uncontrollable green clouds of fart-bursts. (Giants farting on their own just isn’t as funny.)  Listening to The BFG prattle on about  “babblement” and “crockadowndillies,” even in Rylance’s droll delivery, gets old just as fast.

I never read the book, (which Roald Dahl wrote late in his career), but the current edition on Amazon is a mere 224 pages. A nearly two-hours, the film begins to rival Peter Jackson’s outrageous padding of the Hobbit films.  (– Sharon Knolle)

 

81dkha1g90l-_sl1500_Ants on a Shrimp
IFC / Released 11/29/16

What happens when the worlds most acclaimed restaurant picks up and moves halfway across the world?

Named for just one of the many surprising dishes that René Redzepi serves at his esteemed Copenhagen foodie destination Noma (named Worlds Best Restaurant in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014), Ants on a Shrimp follows the superstar chef and his team as they relocate to Japan to set up a five-week pop-up in Tokyo.

But creating an all-new, fourteen-course menu foraged from local sources in an unfamiliar country presents unforeseen challenges and may be a make-or-break moment for the risk-taking Redzepi’s career. This cross-cultural culinary odyssey is both a behind-the-scenes look at a food world visionary and a mouthwatering showcase for some of the most adventurous cuisine on the planet.

 

913bqdvunzl-_sl1500_The Intervention
Paramount / Released 11/29/16

Control freak bride-to-be Annie gathers her group of thirtysomething friends at the picturesque Savannah family summer home of sisters Jessie (writer/director Clea DuVall) and Ruby to convince Ruby and her workaholic husband, Peter, that their relationship has turned irreparably toxic.

Joined by Annie’s easygoing fiance, Jessie’s partner (Sarah), as well as the reluctant Jack and his sprightly 22-year-old girlfriend, the group makes fumbling attempts to jump-start the intervention throughout the booze-fueled weekend, while resolutely avoiding dealing with their own vices and regrets.

The Intervention stars Natasha Lyonne, Vincent Piazza, Jason Ritter, Ben Schwartz, Alia Shawkat, Cobie Smulders and DuVall.

Extras include music video and blooper reel.

 

164783_frontT.A.M.I. Show / The Big T.N.T. Show
Shout! Factory / Released 11/29/16

The energy and excitement of some of music’s greatest grooves!

The unmistakable sounds of a generation explode onto the screen with two of the greatest concert films of the rock n’ roll revolution: T.A.M.I. Show and The Big T.N.T. Show.

Filmed just eight months after The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, 1964’s T.A.M.I. Show introduced rock ‘n’ soul youth culture to America as never before.

Its 1966 follow-up The Big T.N.T. Show built on its predecessor’s legacy as a showcase for the hottest hit-makers in music.

Collectively, the two films are an incredible time capsule of American popular culture in the 1960s, and representative of the gold standard for concert films.

This Collector’s Edition is a double-barreled blast of the sights and the sounds of music’s greatest eras, and features performances by future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Rolling Stones, James Brown, Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson And The Miracles, Bo Diddley, The Supremes, Ike and Tina Turner, The Ronettes, The Byrds, Ray Charles, and many other American and British Invasion hitmakers in their prime!  The T.A.M.I. Show includes commentary, interviews, radio spots, and trailer with Trailers From Hell commentary.  The Big T.N.T. Show includes interviews, featurette and trailer.  Also includes commemorative 36-Page booklet.

 

165798_frontSoundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music
Acorn Media / Released 11/29/16

In eight captivating episodes, Soundbreaking charts a century’s worth of innovation and experimentation, and offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of brand new sounds.

From the Beatles’ groundbreaking use of multi-track technology to the synthesized stylings of Stevie Wonder, from disco-era drum machines to the modern art of sampling, the series highlights the dynamic tension between the artificial and the natural––between the man-made and the God-given––and explores the way in which that tension has continuously redefined not only what we listen to and how we listen to it, but our very sense of what music is and can be.

In the end, Soundbreaking makes us hear the songs we love in a whole new way, and illuminates the sonic alchemy by which the music we listen to becomes a fundamental part of who we are.

Soundbreaking includes Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Roger Waters, Joni Mitchell, Roger Daltrey, Linda Perry, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Annie Lennox, Dave Stewart, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Rosanne Cash, Steven Van Zandt, Billy Idol, Beck, RZA, and many more.  Extras include featurettes featuring Elton John, George Martin, Ringo Starr, Roseanne Cash, Linda Perry, Les Paul and Tom Scholz

Includes the episodes:

  • The Art of Recording: The producer’s role can vary from Sir George Martin’s inspired guidance of the Beatles to Phil Spector’s dictatorial insistence on his signature sound; from Rick Rubin’s gentle coaxing that brought Johnny Cash back to greatness to the fierce creative independence of artist-producers like Joni Mitchell and Prince.
  • Painting with Sound: The advent of magnetic tape and multitracking technology allowed artists to experiment with music in new ways, from the 4- and 8-track productions born of the friendly rivalry between the Beatles and the Beach Boys, to the 16- and 24-track productions created by Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac, to the digital innovations that today fuel the work of artists such as Beck, Bon Iver, and Radiohead.
  • The Human Instrument: Featuring rare studio footage of some the world’s most renowned vocalists–divas like Adele and Christina Aguilera, suave crooners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, and rock star screamers–this episode considers the gamut of tricks and techniques that can enhance and alter the human voice while exploring the ineffable emotional quality that makes a vocal track truly great.
  • Going Electric: From the invention of the electric guitar to the evolution of synthesized music, electricity allowed musicians to invent brand new sounds. This episode examines the process by which science and engineering become sound, illustrated through blues music and artists like the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, and the Who.
  • Four on the Floor: If the vocal track is the heart of a song, the rhythm track–the beat–is its body. Charting the progression of the beat from drum and bass to beatbox and beyond–from Little Richard and James Brown to disco and EDM–this episode listens in on the ongoing dialogue between dance floor and recording studio, and captures the ever-evolving process of building an irresistible beat.
  • The World Is Yours: Beginning with the pioneers of hip-hop, this episode tracks the way in which sampling–the practice of borrowing fragments from existing records–created a new genre, upended the establishment, and set in motion a controversy over copyright that has yet to be resolved.
  • Sound and Vision: Chronicling the era in which MTV forged an indelible link between recorded music and the newly emergent music video, this episode considers what it means to see music as well as hear it. Offering unprecedented exposure to artists with a knack for the form–Michael Jackson, Madonna, Billy Idol, the Eurythmics–MTV turned singles into smash hits and musical performers into international celebrities.
  • I Am My Music: The final episode shifts the focus to the experience of listening to music. From vinyl discs to the cassette tape, the CD, and the MP3, each generation has had a new way to make music its own–a way of listening that determines not only how and where we listen, but also the manner in which we collect, store, and share the music we love.

 

61irgxubbcl-_sl1000_My Fellow Americans

Warner Archive / Released 7/19/16

Framed in a scandal by the current president (Dan Aykroyd) and pursued by armed agents, the two squabbling political foes (Jack Lemmon and James Garner) plunge into a desperate and delightfully frantic search for the evidence that will establish their innocence.

As they scramble through the real America, they get an unexpected crash course in how their policies affected the citizens.

With the three leads in waggish form, spirited direction by Peter Segal (Tommy Boy, Naked Gun 331/3) and snappy support from costars John Heard, Wilford Brimley, Lauren Bacall and more, My Fellow Americans convinces all that comedy is king (and president!).

 

 

56056_front-1To Have and Have Not

Warner Archive / Released 7/19/16

Humphrey Bogart plays Harry Morgan, owner-operator of charter boat in wartime Martinique. Morgan’s right-hand man is Eddie (Walter Brennan), a garrulous alky whose pet question to anyone and everyone is “Ever get stung by a dead bee?”

While in port, Harry is approached by Free French activist Gerard (Marcel Dalio), who wants to charter Harry’s boat to smuggle in an important underground leader. Adopting his usual I-stick-my-neck-out-for-no-one stance, Morgan refuses.

Later on, he starts up a dalliance with Marie Browning (screen newcomer Lauren Bacall), an attractive pickpocket. In order to help Marie return to America, Harry agrees to Gerard’s smuggling terms.

He uses his boat to bring resistance fighter De Bursac (Walter Molnar) and De Bursac’s wife Helene (Dolores Moran) into Martinique. The Vichy police, suspecting that something’s amiss, hold Morgan’s pal Eddie hostage, tormenting the poor rummy by denying him liquor.

Predictably, Morgan comes to Eddie’s rescue and manages to escape Martinique, with the delectable Marie as cozy company.

In the hands of director Howard Hawks and screenwriters Jules Furthman and William Faulkner, the end result bore only a passing relation to the original story by Ernest Hemingway: instead, it was a virtual rehash (but a good one!) of the recently released Casablanca, replete with several of that film’s cast members. The film’s enduring popularity is primarily — if not solely — due to the sexy chemistry between Bogart and Bacall, especially in the legendary “You know how to whistle, don’t you?” scene.

The most salutary result of To Have & Have Not was the subsequent Bogart-Bacall marriage, which endured until his death in 1957. It’s widely believed that Lauren Bacall’s singing voice was dubbed in by a pre-puberty Andy Williams; this is not true. For the record, a more faithful-to-the-source cinemadaptation of the Hemingway original was filmed in 1950 as The Breaking Point.  Extras include newsreels, featurette, trailer and Lux Radio broadcast.

 

71vywvjdrjl-_sl1000_Doc Hollywood

Warner Archive / 
Released 7/19/16

A big city doctor is stranded in a small rural town, where he finds love, professional challenges, and a pet pig, in this comedy.

Fresh out of residence at a Washington D.C. hospital, hot-shot plastic surgeon Ben Stone (Michael J. Fox) hops in his Porsche and is headed for California, where a lucrative practice in Beverly Hills awaits.

However, Ben accidentally plows into a fence in Grady, South Carolina; the wreck puts Ben’s car out of commission, and the town’s mayor, Nick Nicholson (David Ogden Stiers), sees to it that Ben is sentenced to perform community service while he’s waiting to get his car back on the road.

For a week, Ben will serve as the community’s general practitioner, filling in for the aging Dr. Hogue (Barnard Hughes).

Many of the locals go out of their way to make Ben feel welcome, since they need a new full-time doctor and hope he’d be interested in staying on a permanent basis. Ben isn’t especially interested until he meets Lou (Julie Warner), a beautiful, intelligent, and feisty local woman he first meets as she’s enjoying a morning skinny-dip. Ben now finds himself wondering what the odds are of winning her away from her less-than-brilliant boyfriend Hank (Woody Harrelson). Bridget Fonda has a memorable supporting role as Nancy Lee, who doesn’t make much of a secret of her attraction to Ben.

 

717hcmw-xal-_sl1000_The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Warner Archive / Released 6/30/16

Hanna-Barbera made one of its rare forays into prime-time entertainment with this way-out, way-ahead-of-its-time mash-up of American literature and fantasy adventure that mixes live action and animation.

Set during the events of Mark Twain’s classic Tom Sawyer, the series places Tom Sawyer (Kevin Schultz), Huck Finn (Michael Shea) and Becky Thatcher (Lu Ann Haslam) in deadly peril following Injun Joe’s (Ted Cassidy) escape from the courtroom. Spotted by the revenge-minded renegade on a dark and stormy night, the trio flees into a cave and plunge into a series of fantastic adventures, each rendered in a unique style of animation.

But whether they are in La Mancha, Lilliput or Ancient Greece, they continually encounter murderous villains, miscreants who all share the same face – the face of Injun Joe!

Includes the episodes:

  • The Magic Shillelagh: Huck, Becky and Tom aid Grogan, a bumbling leprechaun who’s lost a magical shillelah. Alas, the evil gypsy Zarko (their old nemesis Injun Joe in disguise) also coveteth the talisman- and kidnaps Tom and Huck to get it.
  • Huck of La Mancha: Don Quixote de la Mancha, visionary windmill-jousting knight, recruits Huck, Becky and Tom in his quest to vanquish Don Jose d’Indio, a brigand who captured Quixote’s faithful servant, Sancho Panza.
  • The Terrible Tempered Kahleef: On an island right out of “The Arabian Nights,” Tom and Huck recruit a forgetful old sorcerer to help rescue Becky from a terrible-tempered kahleef.
  • The Little People: Following in Gulliver’s huge footsteps, Huck is captured by Lilliputians, and ordered to marry the king’s daughter! To the rescue swings Becky and Tom, asisted by Bitto, a tiny commoner exiled for courting the princess.
  • Pirate Island: Huckleberry, Tom and Becky find a big hairy ally in Bulu the Ape when they are captured by murderous cutthroats who suspect the trio of filching buried treasure.
  • The Last Labor of Hercules: Our adventurous trio helps mighty Hercules complete his last two labors to escape bondage from scheming King Eurytheus. Also encountered: the flying horse Pegasus and Cerebrus, the three-headed dog at the gate of Hades.
  • The Gorgon’s Head: Tom, Huck and Becky take a terrible chance to save a maiden from a fire-breathing dragon. They must obtain the snake-wreathed head of Gorgon, the very sight of which turns beholders to stone!
  • Castle of Evil: That’s exactly where Sir Tom and squire Huck storm, to free Becky and a royal family from the dastardly clutches of Zilbad, the sorcerer.
  • Hunting the Hunter: On a strange island where animals talk, the adventurers get a chance to make up for centuries of cruelty inflicted on animal by human hunters.
  • The Curse of Thut: In Egypt, tomb-robbing trolls march the wanderers before Typhon, fiendish god of The Underworld, who orders Tom, Huck and Becky to be buried alive in the ancient Chamber Of The Dead!
  • The Ancient Valley: In an ancient valley (sic!) where time has stood still, Tom leads prehistoric spear-wielders in battle against their enemies, the rock-throwers- whose leader is Huck!
  • Menace in the Ice: Tom, Becky and Huck are captured by Calador, the mad captain of a Jules Verne-like flying submarine who plans to conquer the world by melting its glaciers!
  • The Eye of Doorgah: In India, Becky is held hostage while the boys face an army of thuggees to retrieve the ruby eye stolen from a huge stone idol.
  • Mission of Captain Mordecai: In the Sargasso Sea, a whale gobbles up Tom, Huck and Becky… and Capt. Mordecai, a mad whaler who pursues the trio through the strange and weirdly colored innards of the gigantic mammal.
  • The Jungle Adventure: A dark jungle is the scene as Huckleberry and Becky seek aid for Tom, who has been stung by a poisonous plant. But danger rears its ugly head when they fall into the clutches of a Moorish slave trader!
  • Son of the Sun: This title is exactly what Tom is wildly acclaimed as at a Central American temple. Now he must leap from a tower and soar to the heavens.
  • Prophecy of Peril: In ancient China, invading Mongols hold Huck and Becky hostage while Tom is smuggled into a besieged city- in an Oriental version of the Trojan horse.
  • Strange Experiment: The three wanderers seek shelter in an old mansion, where they are warmly welcomed by Dr. Filostro, a mad scientist who needs humans for his miniaturizing machine.
  • The Conquistador Curse: Huck, Tom and Becky’s theft of Incan gold brings down a terrible curse as the ghost of a conquistador starts dogging their tracks.
  • All Whirlpools Lead to Atlantis: A whirlpool swirls the adventurers to the sea bottom, where Huck is mistaken for the king of Atlantis and is captured by the trident men.

 

44353_frontCat On A Hot Tin Roof
Warner Archive / 
Released 8/9/16

“I’m not living with you,” Maggie snaps at Brick. “We occupy the same cage, that’s all.” The raw emotions and crackling dialogue of Tennessee Williams’ 1955 Pulitzer Prize play rumble like a thunderstorm in this film version, whose fiery performances and grown-up themes made it one of 1958’s top box-office hits.

Paul Newman earned his first Oscar nomination as troubled ex-sports-hero Brick. In a performance that marked a transition to richer adult roles, Elizabeth Taylor snagged her second nomination. Her Maggie the Cat is a vivid portrait of passionate loyalty.

Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof also starred Burl Ives (repeating his Broadway triumph as mendacity-loathing Big Daddy), Judith Anderson and Jack Carson, and is as effective today as it was almost 60 years ago.  Extras include commentary, featurette and trailer.

 

918qfbt3v1l-_sl1500_Mom: The Complete Third Season

Warner Archive / 
 Released 9/1/16

Single mom Christy Plunkett (Anna Faris) is now sober and trying to get her life on track.

However, she’s tested daily by her newly sober mother, Bonnie (Allison Janney), and by her relationships with her own kids. While her daughter, Violet (Sadie Calvano), is engaged to a man twice her age, Christy’s 10 year old son, Roscoe (Blake Garrett Rosenthal), would rather live with his father, Baxter (Matt Jones), a former slacker who has only recently gotten himself together.

To help her stay sober, Christy relies on her sponsor, Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy); her wealthy sponsee, Jill (Jaime Pressly); and her overly emotional friend, Wendy (Beth Hall). Christy tries to remain positive as she attempts to overcome her past and build a better future, but with her dysfunctional family and life’s many setbacks, it’s always an uphill battle.

Guest cast includes Ellen Burstyn, June Squibb, Sara Rue, Emily Osment, Judy Greer, David Krumholtz,  Octavia Spencer, Linda Lavin,  Harry Hamlin, Rosie O’Donnell, Joe Manganiello, Rhea Perlman, William Fichtner and Richard Schiff.

Includes the episodes:

  • Terrorists and Gingerbread: Bonnie and Christy disagree about forgiveness when Bonnie’s estranged mother returns and wants to be a part of their lives.
  • Thigh Gap and a Rack of Lamb: Christy and Bonnie try to help Jodi, a teenage addict who they meet at a meeting, while Christy tackles problems both at work and home.
  • Mozzarella Sticks and a Gay Piano Bar: After Christy and Bonnie get Jodi, a recovering drug addict back on her feet, they find themselves addicted to the rush of helping others and take on a new “project”: Michelle.
  • Sawdust and Brisket: Christy is overjoyed when Violet wants to improve their relationship and spend more time together, while Bonnie tries to win over a disgruntled tenant.
  • A Pirate, Three Frogs and a Prince: Christy feels threatened by Roscoe’s relationship with Candace, while a lonely Bonnie flirts with Steve, which produces unintended results.
  • Horny-Goggles and a Catered Intervention: Christy and Bonnie try to be supportive when Regina tells them she no longer thinks she is an alcoholic, while Wendy tries to convince the others to attend a sober holiday dance.
  • Kreplach and a Tiny Tush: Christy hosts a family dinner for Violet’s difficult future mother-in-law, Phyllis, while Bonnie balks when Steve wants to take their relationship to the next level.
  • Snickerdoodle and a Nip Slip: Christy dates Candace’s father, much to Bonnie’s delight, and Baxter and Candace’s horror.
  • My Little Pony and a Demerol Drip: Christy’s burgeoning relationship with Fred gets more and more difficult for Candace to handle, while Bonnie enjoys the perks of Christy dating a wealthy man.
  • Quaaludes and Crackerjack: In order to avoid her ex-boyfriend, Bonnie drags Christy to a new AA meeting, only to run into her ex-girlfriend from 30 years ago, Jeanine.
  • Cinderella and a Drunk MacGyver: Christy tries to help Julian, a handsome, newly sober AA member, but her attraction to him complicates things, while Bonnie jumps at the chance to attend a lavish charity gala with Jill.
  • Diabetic Lesbians and a Blushing Bride: When Marjorie announces she and Victor are getting married, Christy and Bonnie are determined to make it the perfect day in spite of Victor’s sister Anya’s objections.
  • Sticky Hands and a Walk on the Wild Side: Christy, Jill and Wendy find themselves in a sticky situation when they agree to help Bonnie smuggle an illegal substance across the Canadian border.
  • Death, Death, Death and a Bucket of Chicken: Christy tries to be supportive when a health scare throws Bonnie into a tailspin.
  • Nazi Zombies and a Two-Hundred-Pound Baby: Bonnie tries to get Christy to admit that she still has feelings for Baxter.
  • Cornflakes and the Hair of Three Men: When Christy temporarily loses her job, Jill takes her on as a personal assistant, while Bonnie answers a wrong number and starts a quasi-relationship with the mysterious male caller.
  • Caperberries and a Glass Eye: Christy encourages Bonnie to give Adam another chance and go on a date with him, only to discover that he may not be all that he seems.
  • Beast Mode and Old People Kissing: When Jodi’s boyfriend, Travis, turns up at an AA meeting, Christy finds it difficult to put aside her anger towards him, while Adam feels neglected by Bonnie.
  • A Catheter and a Dipsy-Doodle: Despite being extremely ill, Christy insists on taking her final exams. Meanwhile, Bonnie is furious when she suspects that Adam is cheating on her.
  • Pure Evil and a Free Piece of Cheesecake: Christy learns she has made the Dean’s List at school, but is disappointed by Bonnie’s lackluster response, which leads to conflict.
  • Mahjong Sally and the Ecstasy: Violet unexpectedly returns home, revealing her engagement to Gregory is off, however, upon hearing different stories about the breakup, Christy and Bonnie are confused about what actually happened.
  • Atticus Finch and the Downtrodden: Christy becomes discouraged when she realizes how much it will cost to become a lawyer, while Bonnie tries to discipline Violet.

 

71qbmuvtgnl-_sl1000_

Hollywood Legends of Horror Collection
Warner Archive / Released 9/27/16

Classic tales of mad passions and madder deeds!

Featuring such cinematic icons as Humphrey Bogart, Fay Wray, Lionel Barrymore, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Myrna Loy, Peter Lorre, Colin Clive, Ted Healy, Keye Luke and  Maureen O’Sullivan

Includes the films:

Doctor X: Two-strip Technicolor is not every fan’s definition of “color.” But one cannot deny that the effect is wonderful here, going a long way toward building the murky mysterious atmosphere for which this strange movie is famous.

All my guidebooks praise the atmosphere and nostalgia, but scorn the mood-busting comic relief. Most modern-day viewers will agree.

Wonderful Warner Brothers sets take us from foggy New York City docks to a Gothic Long Island mansion to a secret Art Deco laboratory. Murders take place once every month at the full moon. Stiff-lipped Lionel Atwill cuts an imposing figure as Dr. Xavier.

Xavier’s four colleagues not only look weird but are all in the midst of suspicious unexplained experiments. Lithe and lovely Fay Wray, as the doctor=s daughter, screams no less than four times. Curtiz makes excellent use of shadows, silhouettes, and transition shots with a shrouded moon. The Gothic mansion, featured for almost an hour, is a kind of Old Dark House. But Lee Tracy’s wisecracking reporter never lets up, imposing on the horror every chance he gets. He’s like a personified joy buzzer.

Still, if you’re able to endure the scenes with Lee and focus on those with Atwill, the results can be very rewarding. The two standout scenes – one (halfway through) involving an elaborate lie-detector contraption, and the other (at the climax) involving the unmasking/re-masking of the murderer – are hallmarks of 1930s horror.

The Return of Doctor X: In 1939, Bogie was known as a reliable actor who played villains. His rise to stardom with High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca was still years away. And so, here he plays Dr. Quesne performing sinister experiments alongside Dr. Flegg. Quesne has a pasty face and a shock of white hair. Flegg (John Litel of Invisible Agent and Flight to Mars) has a monocle and pointy beard. Both are great to watch. The action centers around a pair of heroes – a handsome doctor and a wisecracking reporter – trying to unravel the motives behind the murders (or resurrections, as the case may be).

The wisecracking reporter, a Kansas boy now living in NYC, is more likeable than the one in the original Doctor X. Other than the presence of a wisecracking reporter, a doctor whose last name begins with X, and multiple murders committed with the aid of a scalpel, this picture has nothing in common with the Curtiz-Atwill original. Modern-day viewers are often annoyed at the comedy in the original, but they might accept it here, since Return feels clean, bright, and modern like a 1940s film. The single lab scene is decent, but it depicts the resurrection of a rabbit rather than a human. A quick pace and a bunch of surprises will keep you on your toes.

Mark of the Vampire: Here is a film that can only be properly enjoyed by fans who know Dracula and other early vampire films well. It also helps if Mark of the Vampire is spoiled for you: all supernatural elements are faked. The head vampire (Bela Lugosi) and all the others are actors, hired to trick a villain into revealing himself. Rather than thinking of it as a real vampire movie, think of it as an Old Dark House mystery with lighthearted vampire elements. As you watch, try to guess which characters are in on the ruse, and which are genuinely fooled. Lionel Barrymore plays the Van Helsing type, and Lionel Atwill plays the moustached inspector.

Fans who watch the film without knowing of the fakery are invariably disappointed. MGM gave Browning a larger budget than Universal gave him for Dracula, so the Gothic vampire elements are very well realized – the misty moors, the wavering cobwebs, the rats, the bats, the spiders, the candles, the clanky doors and chains. But fans feel cheated when it all turns out to be a theatrical fake. Even the most famous moment – Luna’s four-second flight on her giant bat wings – loses power. Lugosi only gets one line toward the end, as does Carol Borland who plays the great-looking Luna. One of the “rats” is obviously a possum, which is a New World animal anyway. Therefore, please go into this film knowing of the fakery, and enjoy it for what it is.

The Mask of Fu Manchu: After grunting and growling in Frankenstein and The Old Dark House, Boris Karloff finally spoke in a horror role in MGM’s Mask of Fu Manchu. The picture would seem to be insulting and offensive – it’ s “white man” this and “yellow monster” that, it’s gratuitous with torture scenes, it’s lasciviously sexual (even homosexual for one brief late moment) – until you realize that it’s all a tongue-in-cheek pulp adventure intended to make us scream with shocked delight. Karloff (as Fu Manchu) and Myrna Loy (as his perverse daughter) knew full well the outrageousness of the ideas, the story, and the characters. Some latter-day viewers will still want to view the spectacle as an ugly manifestation of “yellow peril” paranoia. But I’ll bet that you, Dear Reader, will revel in the action and camp.

Karloff and Loy are wonderful in their roles, he the grinning sadist and she the grinning lecher. Lewis Stone (The Lost World) is good as Sir Nayland. I always like a hero who is getting on in his years. The torture devices include a giant bell, a see-saw above an alligator pit, and – most famously – spiked walls that slowly move to impale you. The “Asian” at Fu Manchu’s banquets include Indians, Arabs, and apparently Jews. The sets, the costumes, the shadows, the opium den, the “poison surgery” sequence, the Genghis Khan sword and mask, and everything else, are strong, inspired, and difficult to forget.

Mad Love: An adaptation of Maurice Renard’s 1920 novel The Hands of Orlac. Most fans agree that Lorre’s performance here is his second greatest after M. At first I thought he was overplaying it, but within 15 minutes he had me convinced he really was this obsessed, sensitive, pitiable, and strangely frightening little man. Early in the film his bald head marks him as an outsider; late in the film a strange disguise marks him as completely mad. Unlike other adaptations (The Hands of Orlac 1924, Hands of Orlac 1960, Hands of a Stranger 1962), this one focuses not on the hapless Orlac wondering whether the murderer’s hands will turn him into a murderer, but on the strange Gogol in love with Orlac’s wife. Gogol’s descent into madness is the key to the film. The few flaws include an inappropriately jokey American reporter (muting the horror like Lee Tracy in Doctor X) and a conclusion that could have used some music.

Freund’s direction is very intent and precise. Numerous closeups give the three principal actors many chances to express emotion. Every shot seems to offer something visually exciting, like the little guillotine atop the cake, the pen in the wall, the white cockatoo, the carnivorous plant, and the famous confrontation in the bar. Gregg Toland, who co-shot the film, became most famous for his work with Orson Welles. Dimitri Tiomkin, who contributed the brief score, became most famous for his work with Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock; he also scored The Thing from Another World.

The Devil-Doll:The Devil-Doll is a unique combination of mad scientist tale and revenge tale. Despite the title, it’s science fiction rather than horror. It includes a great Frankensteinian lab scene early on, and a nutty female scientist who looks like a combination of Ernest Thesiger and the Monster’s bride. Shrunken people, used briefly for camp in Bride of Frankenstein, here become essential to the plot. Escaping from prison, a falsely-accused banker (Barrymore) joins up with scientists who plan to shrink people to doll size in order to save the world’s food supply. Shrunken people, however, can only move if controlled by “the will of another.”

The story is patently preposterous (i.e. what about the doll-people’s bodily functions? How and why do they obey mental commands? how do they know what to do without explicit instructions? how can the commanders see through their eyes?), but the movie is far better than most viewers will expect. The dolls are fun to watch – people, dogs, and a horse. The script contains surprises, including an unusual extended ending.

But the real key is Barrymore in one of the most unlikely successes of his long career. He gets a few minutes as himself at the beginning and the end, but for a full hour of this movie he acts in drag as an old woman, secretly visiting his mother and daughter, then craftily tracking down the three bank managers who framed him 17 years before. He is excellent, and I don’t think it’s going too far to call this movie one of his greatest moments on screen. This movie also features the feisty and gorgeous Maureen O’Sullivan (Just Imagine, Tarzan and his Mate). John Baxter considers The Devil-Doll to be the first sustained treatment of miniaturization in SF film. Mike Mayo calls it Browning’s “most wonderfully maniacal work”. The story was inspired by Burn, Witch, Burn! by Abraham Merritt (1932). (– David E Goldweber)

 

71idz0p79al-_sl1000_The Guyver 2    

Warner Archive / Released 9/27/16

A year has passed since he defeated the Cronos Corporation, but Sean Barker (David Hayter) continues to struggle with his ability to call upon the powers of the Guyver, a suit of armor developed by aliens, when he must face evil.

Hoping to find answers as to why he has received this ability, Barker arrives at an archeological site in Utah, where scientists have uncovered an old alien spacecraft that might solve the mystery. However, the Cronos Corporation is still after him.

With the fate of all mankind in his hands, he makes a final stand against the forces of evil.

 

 

 

611gbpakc0l-_sl1000_The Guyver

Warner Archive / Released 9/27/16


Based on the Japanese comic-book character created by Toshiki Takaya, this hyper-kinetic science fiction fantasy plays like a live-action cartoon. The title initially refers to a mysterious piece of technology capable of generating a powerful bio-mechanical exoskeleton around the body of its operator.

After scientist Tetsu Segawa (Greg Paik) is murdered while trying to deliver it to CIA agent Max Reed (Mark Hamill), the device is stumbled upon by Sean Barker (Jack Armstrong), a friend of the scientist’s daughter Mizki (Vivian Wu).

Sean discovers the object’s power when it encases him with protective power-armor during a fight — armor which comes in handy when the similarly-clad minions of the diabolical Chronos Corporation come after him to reclaim it.

The technology they employ is revealed to be from another planet, which has enabled the head of Chronos (David Gale) to transform his henchmen into reptilian creatures known as Zoanoids (whose ranks include Jimmie Walker from the ’70s TV sitcom Good Times!). In the ensuing battle, Sean’s consciousness becomes merged with the power of the Guyver, bestowing him with remarkable strength and agility, as well as the convenient ability to regenerate himself when damaged.

Helmed by Kung Fu Rascals creator Steve Wang and special-effects wizard Screaming Mad George, The Guyver is a colorful but ultimately clumsy comic-book adventure, bogged down by a pedestrian “Hollywood” script that seems out-of-lace amid the exotic premise and fanciful creature designs.

Apparently targeted at younger audiences — who may enjoy the broad comedy and wild monster effects — this is relatively safe sci-fi fare compared to its ultra-violent source material. Look for “Scream Queen” Linnea Quigley in a brief cameo.

 

l4Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season
Warner Archive / Released 9/13/16

Longmire returns for its fourth season with more mystery, drama and dark secrets from Absaroka County, Wyoming.

The new season finds unflappable Sheriff Walt Longmire and his deputies trying to put the troubling events of the past behind them.

The mysterious White Warrior who tormented Branch is dead. Walt’s best friend Henry Standing Bear is a free man. Longmire’s right-hand deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti is newly divorced.

And the mystery of Walt’s wife’s murder is seemingly resolved.

But just as it looks like a second chance is truly possible for everyone, the opening of the new casino on the Reservation brings dark new problems to Walt’s corner of Wyoming.

And his fresh start is further threatened as it becomes clear that some people cannot truly move on until they have either forgiven past injustices or avenged them.

Includes the episodes:

  • Down by the River: In the wake of discovering a dead body in the river from a supposed suicide, Walt soon discovers evidence pointing to murder. Walt makes it his mission to bring Nighthorse to justice.
  • War Eagle: The investigation into Branch’s death continues. Walt looks into a death at the old Japanese internment camp. Henry considers taking up where Hector left off.
  • High Noon: Cady gets a new job offer while Vic worries Walt wants her to lie for him. Nighthorse continues his egotistical posturing and Barlow implodes with his own malice.
  • Four Arrows: Walt moves on after a standoff with Barlow. A tourist is found dead in a luggage bag left behind a tour bus heading to the casino, causing more tension between Walt and Nighthorse. Henry looks to help an abused mother and her son.
  • Help Wanted: Walt suspects a chain robbery when a late veterans husband is shot during a break in and a warehouse full of pharmaceuticals is robbed. The sheriffs department is scouting for new recruits.
  • The Calling Back: A young Cheyenne girl is raped on the reservation, creating problems between the wildcatters at the oil rig workers and the Cheyenne people. Vic is evicted from her home, forcing her to move in with Cady.
  • Highway Robbery: A highway robbery which leaves one person dead and another barely alive, sets off an investigation involving a string of robberies. Henry begins taking steps in bringing justice to Gabriela’s attackers.
  • Hector Lives: When a former suspect in a rape case ends up dead in another county, Walt and Vic aren’t convinced the death is an accident.
  • Shotgun: The shooting of Gab’s remaining rapist has unintended consequences. Walt tries to figure out motives for the deaths and continues spending time with Dr Moynihan. Henry takes Gab to a medicine woman. Zack has a stalker.
  • What Happens on the Rez…: Henry gets Gab to safety but danger follows. Ferg misses Zack and Vic missteps with Eamon. Walt meets the medicine woman and progresses with the Doc. Mathias makes an arrest in the ‘Hector lives’ campaign. Jacob makes a proposal to Cady.

 

71xr5drj6gl-_sl1000_The Mike Tyson Mysteries: The Complete Second Season
Warner Archive / Released 9/27/16

The Mike Tyson Mystery Team is back for another season of mystery solving. Mike Tyson, once the “baddest man on the planet,” remains hell-bent on becoming the “goodest man on the planet”, one mystery at a time!

But he can’t do it alone.

Well, he could, but then we wouldn’t have the best mystery-solving team in the business: Yung Hee, Mike’s adopted Korean daughter and all-around buzzkill; Pigeon, a filthy disgusting man trapped in the body of a filthy disgusting bird; and Marquess, the ghost whose sole mission is to keep Mike on the path to redemption. His other sole mission: finding a Pinot Grigio that’s bold, but has a crisp finish.

Season two’s mysteries are even more hilariously banal, as the team tackles tough cases like: “What really goes on inside a house when it’s being tented for termites?” “Who gave the team a bad review online?” And “Can Mike find a sleeveless/shorts version of his tracksuit for summer?”

Guest voices include  Wendi McLendon-Covey,  Keith Carradine,  Snoop Dogg, Larry Holmes, James Hong, Ross Mathews, Rhys Darby, Maya Rudolph, Mindy Sterling, Alan Thicke,  Ana Gasteyer, Bruce McCulloch,  Nat Faxon, Rachael Harris, and Cheryl Hines.

Includes the episodes:

  • What’s That Gnoise?: The team help a harried soccer mom with a mystery sound in her minivan that’s driving her insane. But will the team be driven insane first?
  • For the Troops: Mike Tyson is asked to entertain the troops in Afghanistan.
  • She’s a Bayniac: A suspicious husband wants the team to find out if his wife is having an affair. She is. But there are even more things to be discovered!
  • Last Night on Charlie Rose: When a guest goes missing from the set of the late night interview show, Mike and the team are off to New York. But more importantly, will anyone remember it’s Marquess’ birthday?
  • Old Man of the Mountain: A brother and sister struggle with the decision to put their elderly father in a nursing home. Naturally, they reach out to Mike Tyson for help.
  • Jason B. Sucks: A negative online review of the Mike Tyson Mystery Team is unacceptable to Mike Tyson.
  • A Plaintive Wail: Is the new location of a popular restaurant cursed?
  • A Tent Revival: Mike Tyson’s house has termites and must be tented.
  • Greece Is the Word: The L.A. City Council contracts the Mike Tyson Mystery Team to investigate why goods are moving so slowly through the Port of Los Angeles.
  • Ogopogo!: Pigeon must confront his past at the house by the lake.
  • Life Is But a Dream: The team is called to the bedside of a woman who has fallen into a coma. Marquess realizes his “ghostliness” allows him to travel to the “dream realm,” and hopes to bring her back.
  • Unsolved Situations: Coincidentally, Snoop Dogg has a mystery-solving team a lot like Mike Tyson’s.
  • Losin’ It: The team must help an overweight man get in shape. But it’s not just about calorie counting or hitting the gym….
  • Yves Klein Blues: Mike Tyson wants a new tracksuit more suitable for summer, but there is a snag….
  • Unholy Matrimony: A wealthy family is unsure about the man their youngest daughter is set to marry.
  • Mystery for Hire: A large bank contacts Mike and the team about a mystery. But after weeks of meetings, phone calls, and being formally “hired,” they still have no idea what the mystery is about.
  • The Bard’s Curse: Mike and the team are contacted by the director of a Shakespearean theater company who fears his production of Macbeth is cursed!
  • Save Me!: Yung joins a Christian youth group.
  • The Farmer’s Daughter (Parts 1 and 2): When the Mystery Mobile breaks down, the team is forced to stay at a farm where they just solved a mystery. But could there be another one to solve?

 

61okairdijl-_sl1000_Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The Complete First Season
Warner Archive / Released 9/13/16

Rebecca Bunch has always been wound a little tightly.

It’s something that served her well as she has raced up the ladder at her corporate law firm in New York. It may also be why she has no life.

So when Rebecca bumps into Josh Chan – her handsome, long-ago summer camp-sweetheart – she knows that it’s a sign.

A sign for her to quit her job, drop everything, and move across the country to West Covina, California – where, in a huge, definitely-unrelated coincidence, Josh just happens to live.

With her impressive résumé, Rebecca quickly lands a new job at a local law firm, where her boss, Darryl, is more of a star-struck admirer than an authority figure.

Not everyone is immediately enamored with the new hire, as the firm’s head paralegal, Paula, is at first suspicious of Rebecca’s reasons for relocation.  However, in dealing with some secret personal troubles of her own, Paula becomes empathic to Rebecca’s unrequited crush, and the two form a unique bond.

Settling into her new Southern California surroundings, Rebecca eventually tears herself away from lurking on Josh’s Facebook page long enough to agree to a date with Josh’s friend, Greg, who works at the local sports bar. But Rebecca discovers her social media stalking has failed to uncover one important detail – Josh’s girlfriend, Valencia.

Rebecca’s contagious, sometimes-delusional enthusiasm begins to stir the citizens of West Covina, including her cynical neighbor, Heather, shaking them up and giving them a new soundtrack to their lives.

Includes the episodes:

  • Josh Just Happens To Live Here!: Rebecca Bunch impulsively gives up everything – her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan – in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness in that exotic hotbed of romance and adventure: suburban West Covina, California.
  • Josh’s Girlfriend is Really Cool!: When Rebecca that Josh has a gorgeous yoga instructor girlfriend named Valencia, she is determined to learn everything about her.
  • I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!: In an attempt to get closer to Josh, Rebecca throws a housewarming party despite her lack of social connections in West Covina and a childhood fear of hosting parties.
  • I’m Going on a Date with Josh’s Friend!: When Rebecca learns that Josh and Valencia seem as happy as ever, she goes into a spiral and vows to make healthier choices.
  • Josh and I Are Good People!: After Rebecca and disastrous date, Greg accuses her of being a terrible person in front of Josh.
  • My First Thanksgiving With Josh!: Rebecca scores an invite to the Chan family Thanksgiving festivities, where Josh’s parents fall in love with her much to Valencia’s dismay.
  • I’m So Happy that Josh is So Happy!: Rebecca has a tough week after learning news about Josh and someone surprising shows up to help her – Dr. Phil.
  • My Mom, Greg’s Mom and Josh’s Sweet Dance Moves!: It is the holidays and Rebecca’s mom (guest star Tovah Feldshuh) decides to come visit her in West Covina.
  • I’m Going To The Beach With Josh And His Friends!: In an attempt to impress join Josh’s friend group, Rebecca rents a party bus to take the group to the beach.
  • I’m Back at Camp with Josh!: When Rebecca finds out Josh is a volunteer at a camp for at-risk teens, she realizes it is the perfect opportunity to remind Josh about the amazing times they had together at camp.
  • That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!: Rebecca mistakenly sends Josh a text meant for Paula and takes drastic measures to ensure he never sees it.
  • Josh and I Work on a Case!: After the texting debacle, Rebecca attempts to recover by pursuing a case she thinks will bring her closer to Josh.
  • Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!: Rebecca and Josh head to Los Angeles to present their case, which also forces them to confront their long buried feelings.
  • Josh is Going to Hawaii!: Rebecca learns that Josh has conflicted feelings for her and Darryl wants to let everyone know about his newfound bisexuality.
  • Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!: Rebecca gets stuck on plane with her therapist, who takes her on a surprising journey.
  • Josh’s Sister is Getting Married!: Rebecca is determined to get her life on track so when Josh’s sister asks her to be a bridesmaid, Rebecca decides to use her role to make things right with Valencia.
  • Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?: Rebecca is hiding a big secret from Paula, which begins to affect their friendship.
  • Paula Needs to Get Over Josh!: Rebecca’s relationships are tested as she tries to navigate her friendship with Paula, her history with Josh and her connection with Greg.

 

612nukt2n7l-_sl1000_Children’s Hospital: The Complete Sixth and Seventh Seasons
Warner Archive / Released 9/13/16

The Emmy-winning comedy continues (and finishes)! After spending last season in Japan, the gang is back at Childrens Hospital for season 6, and fans can expect absurdity, flights of fancy, hard-hitting fake drama, soft-hitting fake drama, farcical door slamming, partial nudity, classical jazz, 70-yard field goals, mustache rides, backward messages, grooming tips… and so much more.

Like season 7! Where the doctors are in.and so are their grandparents. Where a horse is wanted by the mob, a salacious art show exhibits the peculiar works of enigmatic cast member Just Falcon (if you know you know) and, occasionally, a sick kid receives some version of medical treatment.

Plus, big questions are answered, including: What’s it like to live in a world without tongue depressors? What’s really inside Chief’s hump? Is the series actually based on of a sketch from a 1950s variety show? Which religion is the right one? The season culminates with a sneak peek at the never-before-seen, completely crowd-funded Childrens Hospital Movie.

Rob Corddry, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel, Ken Marino, Megan Mullally and Henry Winkler star. Guest stars include  Keegan-Michael Key, Chris Parnell, Michael Cera,  Jordan Peele, Ronny Cox, Julie Bowen,  Brian Huskey, Joshua Malina, Nick Offerman, David Wain,  Richard Benjamin, Fred Melamed,  Paul Scheer, Lindsay Sloane,  Constance Wu, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Nathan Fielder,  Michael Showalter, Tony Hale,  Michael Lerner,  Rachel Blanchard,  Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, Marla Gibbs,  Samm Levine, Molly Shannon, JoBeth Williams, George Wendt,  Valerie Harper, Will Sasso,  Tom Arnold, Dick Cavett, Randall Park,  Barry Bostwick, Paul Dooley, and Shirley Jones.

Includes the episodes:

  • Five Years Later: In the season premiere, which takes place five years after last season’s climax, Owen has to reintegrate into normal life at the hospital after spending time in prison.
  • Codename: Jennifer: The doctors are summoned to the White House, by Lola, to help with a matter of national security.
  • We Are Not Our DNA!: Shocking DNA test results cause confusion and chaos among the staff.
  • Fan Fiction: Nurse Beth enters a love triangle with Glenn and Owen; a high-stakes medical mystery.
  • With Great Power…: Lola discovers that she may have a superpower. Meanwhile, Blake and Dori consult a mediator to solve their parenting issues.
  • Just Like Cyrano de Bergerac: Blake asks Glenn to coach him through a new romantic relationship. Chief and Cat prank call Sy.
  • Up at 5: The cast appears on a morning show, “Up at 5,” to promote the upcoming Childrens Hospital movie.
  • Koontz Is Coming: Sy runs himself ragged trying to impress an influential blogger.
  • Sperm Bank Heist: Val assembles a team to break into Sy’s sperm bank vault to steal his prized collection.
  • Nils Vildervaan, Professional Interventiomalist: Sy’s new girlfriend makes significant changes around the hospital.
  • Me, Owen: Owen and Briggs work together on a murder case that has spanned fifteen years; a look into Owen and Briggs’ past.
  • The 27 Club: When a newspaper calls Glenn a “rock star surgeon,” he worries that he’ll die on his upcoming 27th birthday, like so many of his fellow rock stars before him. Meanwhile, Chief opts for a “staycation” at the hospital.
  • Home Life of a Doctor: Glenn returns to the Lower East Side of São Paolo, Brazil, for his family’s weekly Shabbat dinner.
  • Kick Me: After years of injustice, Blake recognizes that the source of his life’s pain is the other doctors and takes revenge.
  • Kids Hospital: In the season premiere, fresh off being fired last season by Blake, the Childrens Hospital doctors find new jobs and intense challenges at a crosstown hospital run by the stern Dr. Kids. Meanwhile, Blake turns to a life of crime with his no-good brother, Sir Tinklebutton.
  • One Million Saved: A rare disease appears at Childrens Hospital, and the team has to journey into the buried remains of the original Childrens Hospital with Val’s alter-ego, Derrick Childrens, to find the cure. Meanwhile, the rest of the doctors desperately try to save the hospital’s landmark millionth patient.
  • Sy’s Tenure: When Sy finally gets tenure, he decides to use its powers for the greatest good: building the world’s first consumer jetpack. Elsewhere, Chief is stranded on a dance pedestal, and Owen learns just how hard it is to be the hospital DJ.
  • Doctor Beth: Set four years ago, Nurse Beth’s origins are uncovered as we explore the world of the Nurses’ Quarters in the Childrens Hospital basement. Beth has to navigate the complex social hierarchy of the nurses and avoid losing their friendship when she suddenly gets promoted to doctor.
  • Through the Eyes of a Falcon: In a “Behind the Scenes” episode, actor Just Falcon invites the rest of the Childrens Hospital cast to his special photography exhibition, where all of their shocking secrets are revealed.
  • DOY: Blake, Lola and Glenn are excited to be attending this year’s Doctor of the Year Convention (or DOY) in Vegas. Even though Blake has won six years in a row, Glenn and Lola are determined to win. Owen tags along to visit his mom, with surprising consequences.
  • By the Throat: After discovering that Childrens Hospital is out of tongue depressors, Owen finds himself embroiled in a dangerous hospital-wide conspiracy that reaches all the way up to Governor Jasper Ruth, the Boss Tweed of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Childrens Horsepital: A race horse is wanted by fearsome mob boss Mamma Fiorucci, so Chief hides the animal in the hospital, all while Lola’s college barbershop quartet tempts her into rejoining and Glenn glues Blake’s hands into his latex gloves.
  • Hump Cola: Owen discovers that the fluid in Chief’s hump tastes exactly like Coca Cola. Despite Chief’s protests, Owen attempts to monetize her “hump cola,” while Blake suspects Glenn has an addiction problem and takes him to Nils Vildervaan, professional rehabilitationalimist.
  • The Show You Watch: A look back at an episode of the popular 1950s variety show The Show You Watch, known for its irascible host, hilarious skits and elaborate dances, but mostly revered for its weekly visit to Childrens Hospital, the sketch upon which the present day show is loosely based.
  • Show Me a Hero: When Dr. Cat Black has a crisis of faith, the hospital’s resident spiritual leaders fiercely compete against each other to convert her and win a monthly sales prize. Glenn grows frustrated that he isn’t getting the respect he deserves for playing second bass in the L.A. punk band X.
  • Grandparents Day: It’s “Bring Your Grandparents to Work Day” at the hospital. The doctors struggle with their grandparents, whether they’re overbearing, trying to kill themselves or are just famous actors.
  • The Grid, Parts One & Two: When Glenn and Owen experience bizarre hallucinations and Lola fears she’s being followed by an imaginary doctor, they think a gas leak in the hospital might be to blame. But what they discover threatens to upset the entire future of Childrens Hospital….

 

717lglvzkdl-_sl1000_The Kwicky Koala Show
Warner Archive / Released 10/11/16

With the debut of The Kwicky Koala Show, the animation masters at Hanna-Barbera returned to a format that they perfected in the studio’s early days – the short-format, funny-animal anthology show.

Fast, silly and flippant, The Kwicky Koala Show features three six-minute shows depicting the respective adventures of Kwicky Koala, the fastest bear in Australia; Dirty Dawg, the dingy dandy con-dog king of the garbage dump; and Crazy Claws, a razor-sharp wildcat (in both wit AND claw).

Adding to the animated delight are the “short acts,” interspersed between the main segments, of the Bungle Brothers, a pair of vaudeville wanna-be dogs.

With contributions from the legendary Tex Avery, The Kwicky Koala Show has an antic animated pedigree that few shows can match, and it delivers the laughs to back it up. Featuring the vocal talents of Robert Allen Ogle, John Stephenson, Jim MacGeorge, Peter Cullen, Don Messick, Michael Bell, Allan Melvin and Frank Welker.

 

61-zvs5ccl-_sl1000_The Late Show
Warner Archive / Released 10/4/16

Aging detective Ira Wells (Academy Award winner Art Carney) is making barely enough to cover his expenses, but keeps working to stay busy. After his long-time partner Harry is killed while working on a case, Ira takes it on. Wanting to solve Harry’s murder and cover his other cases, Ira accepts help from his ditsy client Margo (Lily Tomlin), and they forge an unlikely alliance. Written and directed by three-time Oscar winner Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer), The Late Show is a brilliant, funny and gutsy modern-day homage to ’40s detective thrillers.

Like his contemporaries Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade, gimpy-legged Ira’s one of the great ones (Carney won the 1977 National Society of Film Critics Best Actor Award for his work here). Will this one last case – and this one flaky lady – give him one last chance to prove it?

 

 

156776_front-1Lucifer: The Complete First Season
Warner Archive / Released 8/23/16

Based on the character from DC Entertainment’s Vertigo comic, Lucifer is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, and has resigned his throne and retired to the City of Angels where he is indulging in a few of his favorite things — wine, women and song.

When a beautiful pop star is brutally murdered before his eyes, he feels something awaken deep within him – for the first time in roughly 10 billion years. Is he actually capable of feelings for a human being?

The very thought disturbs him — as well as his best friend and confidante, Mazikeen (aka Maze), a fierce demon in the form of a beautiful young woman. The murder attracts the attention of LAPD homicide detective Chloe Decker, who finds herself both repulsed and fascinated by Lucifer.

As they work together to solve the murder, Lucifer is struck by Chloe’s inherent goodness. Used to dealing with the absolute worst of humanity, he begins to wonder if there’s hope yet. Maybe everyone’s got a chance for redemption. Even the Devil.

A tremendously clever and entertaining series, Lucifer is a reminder that last year’s Constantine was victim to being on the wrong network.  It’s fun, but hopefully season two will expand beyond it’s redundant procedural stories.  Right now, it’s little more than a supernatural take on Castle. And like Castle, it’s light, breezy and somewhat forgettable; but, worth the watch.

Extras include 2015 Comic-Con panel, featurettes, character profiles, deleted scenes and gag reel.

Includes the episodes:

  • Pilot: Lucifer has left Hell to take up a life on Earth. When a friend of his is murdered Lucifer joins forces with the good side of the law to discover who the perpetrators are and to give them what they rightfully deserve.
  • Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil.: When a movie star’s son is killed after being chased by the paparazzi, Chloe takes a deep look into the case with a little help from Lucifer. Meanwhile, Maze and Amenadiel continue to encourage Lucifer to go back to hell.
  • The Would-Be Prince of Darkness: An up-and-coming quarterback calls Lucifer after finding a corpse in his pool; Lucifer asks Chloe to help investigate, which leads them into the world of big-money sports.
  • Manly Whatnots: In an effort to get over his infatuation with Chloe, Lucifer decides that he must seduce her. Meanwhile, the two team up on a missing girl case and Amenadiel confronts Maze about his concerns about Lucifer.
  • Sweet Kicks: When Lucifer is attending a fashion show, a girl gets murdered. He then volunteers to help Detective Decker solve the homicide. Mazikeen goes behind Lucifer’s back.
  • Favorite Son: A robbery gone bad leads to Lucifer and Chloe working together. Dan has an unusual encounter with Mazikeen. Chloe suspects Lucifer might be a criminal. Linda chooses to play Lucifer’s game.
  • Wingman: Lucifer gets help from an unlikely source while trying to find the contents of his stolen container; Chloe uncovers a vital clue.
  • Et Tu, Doctor?: The murder of a therapist prompts Lucifer to enlist the help of Dr. Linda to search for a suspect.
  • A Priest Walks Into a Bar: A priest seeks out Lucifer’s help when he suspects an underground drug operation has set up shop at a neighborhood youth center. Meanwhile, Malcolm manipulates a way to keep an eye on Dan.
  • Pops: Lucifer and Chloe suspect a restaurateur’s son played a part in his death; the return of Chloe’s mother sends her life into upheaval.
  • St. Lucifer: When philanthropist Tim Dunlear is found dead, Lucifer explores his good side by becoming a benefactor for Tim’s glitzy Los Angeles charity.
  • #TeamLucifer: The team investigates the death of a woman whose body with “Hail Lucifer” message was found lying in a pentagram.
  • Take Me Back to Hell: When Lucifer is framed for murder, he and Chloe must work together to clear his name and prove the identity of the true killer.

 

121751_frontConstantine: The Complete Series
Warner Archive / Released 10/4/16

Based on the wildly popular comic book character from DC Comics, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine (Matt Ryan) is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and a wickedly naughty wit.

He fights the good fight – or at least he did. With his soul already damned to Hell, he’s decided to abandon his campaign against evil until a series of events thrusts him back into the fray, and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect the innocent.

With the balance of good and evil on the line, Constantine will use his skills to travel the country, find the supernatural terrors that threaten our world and send them back to where they belong.

After that, who knows…maybe there’s hope for him and his soul after all. Also starring Angelica Celaya as Zed, Charles Halford as Chas and Harold Perrineau as Manny.  Extras include trailer, featurette, Comic Con panel and presentation.

Includes the episodes:

  • Non Est Asylum: With his soul already damned to hell, he’s decided to abandon his campaign against evil until a series of events thrusts him back into the fray when an old friend’s daughter becomes the target of supernatural forces.
  • The Darkness Beneath: Deep in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania, John is the small mining community’s only defense against an ancient Welsh spirit. In the course of protecting these isolated innocents, John finds a vital new ally in a mysterious young woman named Zed.
  • The Devil’s Vinyl: John and Zed engage in a dangerous confrontation to save a woman and her family from sinister forces. John’s efforts force him to confront the darkness in his own life – while also coming face to face with a new powerful adversary in Papa Midnite.
  • A Feast of Friends: When Constantine’s old friend Gary Lester accidentally releases a powerful demon in Atlanta, John is forced to determine exactly what he is prepared to sacrifice in his battle with the underworld.
  • Danse Vaudou: In New Orleans, Constantine’s unusual knowledge of a string of crimes gets him into trouble with Detective Jim Corrigan. He must form an unholy alliance with Papa Midnite when a voodoo ritual to help people communicate with their dead loved ones takes a deadly turn.
  • Rage of Caliban: When a young boy is taken over by a malevolent spirit, John must put aside his misgivings over exorcising a child and convince the parents that their boy is not all that he seems.
  • Blessed Are the Damned: While in art class, Zed has a bizarre vision of snakes that lead her and John to a small town where a preacher has mysteriously gained the ability to heal his congregation.
  • The Saint of Last Resorts: Anne Marie, a member of the Newcastle crew, asks John and Chas for help in Mexico City — bringing them close to the heart of the rising darkness; Zed is haunted by her past.
  • The Saint of Last Resorts: Part 2: John summons a demon into himself to help fend off an attack; Chas, Zed, and Anne Marie rush to save John.
  • Quid Pro Quo: When thousands of people in Brooklyn – including Chas’ daughter – slip into comas, John must locate and defeat the evil forces responsible.
  • A Whole World Out There: John is sent to help an old friend at Ivy University, where students have figured out how to get to an alternate dimension – only to be met by a killer.
  • Angels and Ministers of Grace: John asks Manny to help him investigate a mysterious attack at a hospital; a health issue prompts Zed to question her visions.
  • Waiting for the Man: John and Zed return to New Orleans when Detective Jim Corrigan asks for their help in the case of a missing girl. Papa Midnite takes steps toward exacting his revenge on John. Meanwhile, the truth behind the Rising Darkness comes to light.

 

141600_frontThe 100: The Complete Second Season
Warner Archive / Released 10/25/15

Season Two kicks off with Clarke and her friends trapped inside Mount Weather, a nuclear-hardened underground city where no one is safe, especially The 100.

When Clarke escapes alone, it set off a chain of events for our trapped heroes, the adults on the ground and even the Grounders.

Alliances will be made, friendships will be broken and justice will be served. With everyone fighting for their right to survive, our heroes will have to ask themselves a very important questions: How far will you go to save the people you love?

Many will fight, some will die, all be will changed forever.

Extras include featurettes, Comic-Con Panel, gag reel and unaired scenes.

Episodes include:

  • The 48: In the season premiere, Clarke is still trapped, while the fate of Bellamy, Finn & Raven is still unknown. Meanwhile, the survivors of the Ark face a dangerous new world.
  • Inclement Weather: Clarke demands answers from President Wallace. Kane interrogates one of The 100, and Abby performs emergency surgery. Meanwhile, Octavia resorts to violence to find Lincoln.
  • Reapercussions: Nothing is what it seems. When Clarke discovers a horrifying project being carried out in Mount Weather’s medical ward, she joins forces with an unlikely ally.
  • Many Happy Returns: After being betrayed, Clarke takes matters into her own hands and proves she’s not going down without a flight. Bellamy, Finn and Murphy race against time to save a stranger.
  • Human Trials: While Kane leads a mission to make peace with the Grounders, Lincoln enters a world of pain. And Finn’s search for Clarke takes a violent turn.
  • Fog of War: Tensions run high between Clarke & Finn, while Octavia faces her worst nightmare. As Jasper & Monty discover the truth about Mt. Weather, Wallace is about to be betrayed.
  • Long Into An Abyss: Clarke comes up with a bold new plan to stop the Grounders’ attack, leading Abby to a desperate decision. Meanwhile, Jasper & Monty question the motives of their new friends.
  • Spacewalker: Clarke returns to Camp Jaha with devastating news. Finn struggles with the aftermath of his actions. Abby gathers information from an unlikely source and prepares for a fight.
  • Remember Me: Clarke strikes a deal with Lexa & Indra, while a seething Raven is unable to control her emotions. A move threatens to destroy the alliance between the Sky People & the Grounders.
  • Survival of the Fittest: Clarke and Lexa encounter a new enemy, while Bellamy and Lincoln team up to break into Mt. Weather. Meanwhile, Murphy helps Jaha confront his past, Indra makes Octavia an offer.
  • Coup de Grace: Bellamy and Lincoln’s attempt to sneak into Mount Weather has brutal consequences, while Abby fights to stay in control as Clarke steps up in her new leadership role.
  • Rubicon: Tensions between Clarke and Abby come to a head after Clarke crosses the line. Raven helps Bellamy navigate Mount Weather, where things reach a breaking point.
  • Resurrection: Clarke begins to question Lexa’s leadership decisions and Abby struggles to help an injured Kane. Meanwhile, at Mount Weather, Jasper steps up into the role of leader.
  • Bodyguard of Lies: Before battle, Clarke & Lexa have a heated discussion. Desperate for help, Raven summons Wick. Jaha & Murphy encounter a perilous roadblock, while Bellamy’s in a race against time.
  • Blood Must Have Blood – Part One: While Clarke and Lexa prepare for battle, Octavia and Lincoln are forced to make a difficult decision in the first part of the epic two-part season finale.
  • Blood Must Have Blood Part Two: In the second part of the epic season finale, the journey to the City of Light continues. Clarke receives help from an unexpected source and Lincoln gets his revenge.

 

155800_frontThe 100: The Complete Third Season
Warner Archive / Released 7/19/16

The best science fiction series on television returns for it’s third season!

For the 100 on Earth, they have learned the hard way that in the fight for survival there are no heroes and there are no villains – there is only the living and the dead.

Reunited with the survivors of the space-station Ark that fell to Earth, Clarke Griffin and her band of juvenile delinquents have faced death at every turn: from a world transformed by radiation to the fierce Grounders who somehow managed to survive it, and the double-dealing Mountain Men from the fortified Mount Weather, whose civilized environment masked a horrible secret.

Though Clarke was alternately challenged, supported and betrayed by her own people and alliances with the Grounders, they could always find common ground in survival.

United with the Grounder tribes, Clarke and her friends faced off against the lethal forces of Mount Weather to rescue the remaining “Sky People” from the Ark who were being held captive in Mount Weather. But victory came with a terrible price. The challenges continue in season three as they not only determine what kind of lives they will build, but what it will ultimately cost them. Extras include featurettes, Comic-Con Panel, deleted scenes and gag reel.

Episodes include:

  • Wanheda: Part 1: After leaving Camp Arkadia due to her inability to accept her actions, Clarke sets out on her own, dealing with her emotions while encountering new challenges. Camp Arkadia begins to see political turmoil as the hunger for power mounts.
  • Wanheda: Part 2: Bellamy and Kane put their lives on the line to rescue Clarke; Abby considers opening Mount Weather as a medical facility; Murphy schemes against Jaha.
  • Ye Who Enter Here: Now with Clarke in her possession, Lexa has the power to force Skikru to become one with the grounders. Kane and Abby journey to the Polis Summit, while the Ice Nation prepares to draw first blood against Skikru and the other grounder clans.
  • Watch the Thrones: Clarke discovers the mastermind behind a devious plan, while Kane struggles to keep the peace. Meanwhile, Jasper’s grief drives him to reckless behavior.
  • Hakeldama: Pike’s twisted crusade threatens Clarke’s attempts for peace. Raven becomes a target, while Murphy tries to conspire against Jaha.
  • Bitter Harvest: Clarke struggles with her morality while Abby grows suspicious of Jaha’s motives.
  • Thirteen: Anger and lust for vengeance and justice from the clans threatens Lexa’s position. Murphy unveils new secrets about the identity of Polis. Meanwhile, a dangerous coup brews against Clarke and Lexa and their trust for each other is tested.
  • Terms and Conditions: Kane tries to stop Pike, but he learns that he is onto him. Kane realizes that for him to ensure peace in Arkadia, he’ll have to go through drastic measures.
  • Stealing Fire: Bellamy tries to save Kane from Pike. Clarke and Murphy debate over what to do with Titus and the A.I. Bellamy confronts Octavia.
  • Fallen: Jaha employs a terrifying new method to convince Abby to join his cause, Kane is on a mission, and Bellamy is hit with a hard truth. Meanwhile, Monty finds himself in a precarious situation, and Jasper rushes to save one of his own.
  • Nevermore: Clarke and her friends try to save Raven from Allie’s control. However, they realize that they will have to undergo dangerous procedures that may cost Raven’s life.
  • Demons: Alie forces Raven’s dark side to come out, Jasper’s anger continues to grow. Meanwhile Octavia wrestles with her place in the world and Monty is forced to make a split second decision.
  • Join or Die: Clarke is on a mission that could change everything. Meanwhile Murphy gains insight that might prove useful in ensuring his survival. Lastly Kane reaches a breaking point.
  • Red Sky at Morning: Clarke, Bellamy, Octavia and Jasper hit a tragic roadblock. Meanwhile, Raven and Monty make an important discovery.
  • Perverse Instantiation: Part One: Clarke finds hope in a place she never expected. Alie’s master plan begins to coalesce.
  • Perverse Instantiation: Part Two: In the second half of the two-part season finale, everyone prepares for a final showdown as they begin to face the reality of their tragic situation in the epic and mind-bending conclusion.

 

129745_frontiZombie: The Complete First Season
Warner Archive / Released 7/12/16

How many people can say that satisfying their munchies helps solve murders?

Meet Olivia “Liv” Moore, a medical resident on the fast track to a perfect life… until she’s turned into a zombie.

Stuck between half-alive and undead, Liv transfers to Seattle’s morgue to access the only thing that allows her to maintain her humanity – human brains.

But there are side effects to Liv’s new diet: flashes of the corpse’s memories – including clues as to how they were killed. Liv works with an eccentric Medical Examiner and a rookie detective to help solve the murders… it’s the least a good citizen zombie can do!

Based on characters published by DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint from the brains behind Veronica Mars, iZombie delivers crime-fighting zombie adventures in all 13 Season One episodes. Extras include deleted scenes and SDCC panel.

Includes the episodes:

  • Pilot: Liv is your ordinary everyday over-achieving medical resident. Until the party where she’s scratched by a zombie and becomes one herself. Now she works in a morgue and refuses to be around her friends and family for fear that she might eat their brains. However, Liv discovers that she can read the memories of the brains that she eats, and sets out to help rookie police detective Clive Babinaux solve a call girl’s murder with the help of her understanding boss, Ravi Chakrabarti.
  • Brother, Can You Spare a Brain?: When a painter is murdered, Liv helps investigate his death and acquires his passion for life. Meanwhile, Blaine visits the morgue and asks for help.
  • The Exterminator: Liv and Ravi’s newest corpse is a bug exterminator who turns out to be a hit man. His memories provide Liv with the information she needs to clear an innocent man and track down the guilty party, but she worries that the man’s lack of emotions may be harmful. Meanwhile, Marcy turns up and Major asks Clive for help.
  • Liv and Let Clive: Clive discovers a John Doe in the morgue is one of his former criminal contacts from his days working on the vice squad, but he refuses Liv’s help to solve the murder. Liv and Ravi investigate on their own, which puts them in a precarious situation. Meanwhile, Major searches for a roommate, and Liv thinks he is considering a cute co-ed.
  • Flight of the Living Dead: Liv’s former sorority sister dies in a skydiving accident, but Liv soon realizes that it’s murder. As she and Clive investigate the case, Major asks Clive to help him find the missing Jerome.
  • Virtual Reality Bites: Liv and Ravi investigate a shut-in Internet troll who died in his basement. Meanwhile, Major continues his search for the Candyman, and Blaie is forced to cut off a customer with extreme prejudice.
  • Maternity Liv: A missing pregnant girl reappears after eight months, and dies of exposure. The doctors save her child, and Liv takes on a strong maternal instinct after eating the girls’ brains. Meanwhile, Major follows Julien and learns about his interest in brains.
  • Dead Air: The newest victim is a morning radio talk show host, and Liv picks up her annoying tendencies when she eats the woman’s brain to solve the murder. Meanwhile, Major is more determined than ever to find out what Julien is hiding, and Ravi decides to ask Peyton out on a date.
  • Patriot Brains: Liv confronts Lowell about his involvement with Blaine’s brain-selling operation. Meanwhile, she and Clive investigate the death of a former sniper, and Liv gets the man’s combat skills… and decides to eliminate Blaine for good. Meanwhile, Major follows a new lead on Julien.
  • Mr. Berserk: Rebecca Hinton, the reporter that Major helped, turns up dead. Liv eats her brain to find out who killed her Rebecca and inherits her alcoholism, while trying to cope with Lowell’s death. Meanwhile, Clive advises Major to get help.
  • Astroburger: Liv eats the brain of a mental patient to find out how he died, and suffers from the same paranoid delusions. Meanwhile, Major tracks Blaine and Julien to Meat Cute, and Ravi and Peyton have their first date.
  • Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat: Liv eats the brain of a dead cheerleader to identify her killer. Meanwhile, Major prepares for his war on zombies, and Ravi and Peyton plan a trip to San Francisco.
  • Blaine’s World: Ravi comes up with a cure for the zombie plague, but warns Liv that it’s in short supply. Meanwhile, Major refuses to tell Blaine where the stolen astronaut brains are, and Clive tries to locate Teresa’s killer.

 

154898_frontiZombie: The Complete Second Season
Warner Archive / Released 7/12/16

As season two begins, Liv’s ex-fiancé and love, Major, is reeling from recent events and the knowledge that Liv is a zombie.

Meanwhile, Blaine — now human — struggles to maintain his zombie world; Clive searches for Blaine and suspects Major’s involvement in the Meat Cute massacre; and Ravi remains devoted to finding an antidote to the zombie virus.

Unlikely alliances will be struck, relationships will be challenged and the line between good and evil will blur for both zombies and the fully living.

Extras include SDCC panel and deleted scenes.

Includes the episodes:

  • Grumpy Old Liv: While Liv deals with the rejection of her family and Major, she takes on the case of an old man who was crushed to death beneath the car he was working on. Meanwhile, Vaughn approaches Major with an interesting proposal.
  • Zombie Bro: While Liv and Clive investigate a murder at a frag house, Ravi and Major go club-hopping. Meanwhile, Blaine is forced to turn to his father for financial aid when he needs money to pay off a DA to take down his rival drug dealer, Mr. Boss.
  • Real Dead Housewife of Seattle: Liv and Clive investigate the death of a LA housewife. Clive figures that the husband is the guilty party, but Liv learns that the dead woman was connected to Vaughn. Meanwhile, Peyton returns home to lead a crackdown on Utopium.
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Black and Blues: The brain of a dead country-and-western singer awakens new feelings in Liv. Meanwhile, Major realizes that he’s in trouble, and Blaire tries to convince the man who cut the Utopium on the night of the boat party to give up the formula.
  • Love & Basketball: Liv eats the brains of a dead community center basketball coach to learn how he died, and finds herself giving life advice to Major. Meanwhile, Ravi tries to create a zombie cure with Blaine’s help, and Major and Gilda’s relationship sours.
  • Max Wager: While Liv and Clive investigate the murder of the lawyer they arrested on their last case, Liv eats the corpse’s brain and picks up his gambling habit. Meanwhile, she and Major wait for Ravi to find a way for them to make love, and Blaine’s father makes a move against his son.
  • Abra Cadaver: While Liv and Clive investigate the death of a magician at a convention, Major deals with Liv’s newest personality. Meanwhile, Ravi breaks up with Steph and turns to Peyton for solace, and Blaine comes to Liv for help.
  • The Hurt Stalker: A wedding planner turns up dead and it turns out that she used to date Clive. The murder weapon is Clive’s stolen 9mm Beretta, and Liv and Ravi set out to clear their friend’s name. Problems arrive when it turns out that the planner was an obsessive stalker… and Liv has to eat her brain to solve the case.
  • Cape Town: A citizen turned costumed vigilante, The Fog, turns up dead. Liv eats his brain to solve his murder and soon takes on his superheroic qualities. Meanwhile, Blaine demands a steep price from Liv in return for tainted Utopium to create a cure, and Major goes after a new zombie for Max Rager.
  • Method Head: While Liv convinces Clive to let her help his investigation of an apparent murder on the set of the hit TV series Zombie High, Ravi continues his search for the tainted Utopium. Meanwhile, Dale connects Blaine to the Meat Cute Massacre.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey Matter: While Liv and Clive investigate the murder of a librarian who was going to publish her first erotic novel, Blaine and Peyton become much closer. Meanwhile, Clive and Dale close in on the Chaos Killer… and Major takes extreme measures to throw them off the trail.
  • Physician, Heal Thy Selfie: Peyton breaks up with Blaine after Liv’s revelation, and considers resigning… until her superior, DA Baracus, disappears under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, Clive and Liv investigate three decapitated corpses who washed ashore and Liv discovers that they’re connected to Baracus.
  • The Whopper: Liv and Clive investigate a murder that is connected to the two Utopium smugglers buried in the field. Meanwhile, Blaine arranges a meeting with his father Angus after he discovers that Angus left him out of his will in case he turned up dead of foul play.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Caffeinated Mind: While Liv eats the brains of a overly-positive coffee shop owner to help Clive solve her murder, Boss closes in on the man who is cutting in on his Utopium trade. Meanwhile, Ravi tries to create a new cure with the Utopium sample they obtained from the corpses.
  • He Blinded Me…With Science: Liv eats the brain of an unemployed scientist who was burned to death, and discovers that she was connected to Max Rager’s secret research program. Meanwhile, Vaughn finds out about Major and Gilda, and Blaine has to consider where to take Ravi’s cure or not.
  • Pour Some Sugar, Zombie: To discover what a stripper knew about one of Boss’ stash houses, Liv eats the brain of a dead stripper. Meanwhile, Ravi discovers what Major is hiding in his safe, and Blaine discovers that he no longer remembers his old life…. or anything at all.
  • Reflections of the Way Liv Used to Be: Liv eats the brain of a student much like Liv was before she died. Meanwhile, Blaine asks Ravi for help, and Major gets deeper into trouble.
  • Dead Beat: Liv and Ravi turn to Blaine for help when they run out of brains and an imprisoned Major threatens to go Romero and spread the zombie plague. Meanwhile, Clive has a decision to make that may cost him his future.
  • Salivation Army: Vaughn successfully sells Max Rager to a military contractor and throws a party to celebrate. Liv and Major sneak in to get to the basement lab and free Drake and the other imprisoned zombies.

 

71y8vom2wml-_sl1000_Devlin: The Complete Series
Warner Archive / Released 5/25/16

Back in the day when stunt cyclists soared to the zenith of the zeitgeist, a most unusual circus family roamed the byways and highways of Saturday morning. Led by eldest sibling Ernie Devlin (voice of Michael Bell), a daredevil stunt cyclist, aided by master mechanic younger bro Tod (voice of Mickey Dolenz) with little sister Sandy (Michelle Robinson) handling publicity, the Devlin clan travels across the country with a traveling circus in a too-cool camper, investigating a different kind of cartoon mystery – that of the human condition.

Thanks to the care and understanding of circus owner Hank (voice of Norman Alden), the Devlins have all the space they need for stunt-works and good-works. Among the problems tackled by the clan in this decidedly more adult-toned, and Evel Knievel inspired Hanna-Barbera classic are traumatic flashbacks, undocumented child immigrants, satanic rock idols and child runaways.

 

docDoc Savage: The Man of Bronze
Warner Archive / Released 11/1/16

Based on the first of Kenneth Robeson’s 181 adventure-packed Doc Savage books, Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze hits the screen with all its gee-whiz, gung-ho spirit intact. And its bold protagonist, who along with having a herculean body is also a surgeon, linguist and inventor, remains determined to do right to all and wrong to no one.

Ron Ely (TV’s Tarzan) plays the strapping Savage in this high-camp, big-heroics tale of his trek into the Valley of the Vanished to explore the cause of his father’s death and confront the power-hungry Captain Seas (Paul Wexler).

At Savage’s side are his allies, the Fabulous Five (Paul Gleason, Roberts William Lucking, Michael Miller, Eldon Quick and Darrell Zwerling).

And behind the camera are pros who know how to get the most out of this entertainment bronze mine: veteran fantasy film producer George Pal (The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine) and director Michael Anderson (Around the World in 80 Days, Logan’s Run).

 

91-tzm1wcyl-_sl1500_Brief Encounters
Acorn Media / Released 11/29/16

In early 1980s England, Steph (Sophie Rundle), Pauline (Penelope Wilton), Nita (Angela Griffin) and Dawn (Sharon Rooney) wrestle with the pressures of family, husbands and making ends meet.

However, a chance meeting between Steph and Nita is destined to kick-start a transformation for them all as they grasp the opportunity to become Ann Summers (lingerie and sex toy) party organizers.

This joyful, uplifting, character-driven drama will see these four unlikely friends blossom, gaining confidence and independence as their ambition is ignited. As wives and businesswomen they discover hidden strengths, shaking up not just their town but their relationships too.

Extras include featurette.

Includes the episodes:

  • Episode 1: When her husband, Terry, loses his job, young mother Stephanie and her friend Nita answer an ad for a lingerie sales job. But Stephanie will have to get over her bashfulness if she is to make enough money to pay the rent.
  • Episode 2: Stephanie deals with the aftermath of Terry’s affair, and money is tighter than ever. When her mother finds out that Stephanie is still selling, she refuses to babysit Dean. Dawn is tired of supporting her ungrateful family, and Nita struggles with the news of her pregnancy.
  • Episode 3: As Brian recovers in the hospital, Russell and Pauline try to keep the business afloat. Johnny asks Stephanie out on a date, but Dean misses his dad. Anita notices that Kieren has been acting strangely and worries that he is back to his old ways.
  • Episode 4: Dawn plans her dream wedding, but Russell starts to have second thoughts. Terry moves back in with Stephanie, but he still doesn’t approve of her work, especially as she tries to expand the business. Johnny searches for his birth mother.
  • Episode 5: After her attack, Stephanie is too scared to host another party, until Nita helps her overcome her fears. In return, Stephanie asks Johnny to help search for Richie. The day before her wedding, Dawn invites her father to the reception.
  • Episode 6: Stephanie plans a big exotic lingerie event and asks the other women to help model. Nita worries about Richie working for Dougie. As tensions with Pauline come to a head, Johnny asks Stephanie for one last favor before he leaves town.

 

71g27jbheel-_sl1000_-1Where’s Huddles?: The Complete Series
Warner Archive /Released 7/26/26

They’re just an average pair of suburban families, the Huddleses and the next-door McCoys. Average, blue-collar working stiffs who play professional football, that is. Or as their snide neighbor Pertwee (voice of Paul Lynde) would have it, “Savages, that’s what they are.” Ed Huddles (voice of Cliff Norton) is quarterback for the the Rhinos and Bubba McCoy (voice of Mel Blanc) is his center, while decidedly above-average wives Marge (voice of Jean Vander Pyl) and Penny (voice of Marie Wilson) try to keep the big galoots civilized. Adding a dash of vérité to the prime-time animated sports sitcom is the voice of L.A. Rams’ sportscaster Dick Enberg as the Rhinos’ announcer. Now if Huddles could just learn to stop fumbling the ball or falling for Pertwee’s schemes, he could come to enjoy the sports spotlight.in the meantime, he’s got Marge in this 10 Episode complete series collection.

Includes the episodes:

  • The Old Swimming Hole: Ed and Bubba are determined to install a swimming pool in the Huddles’ backyard, despite a legal fight by Pertwee to stop them. They somehow succeed with Freight Train’s help, but sharing the pool puts a strain on Ed and Bubba’s friendship, which spills onto the football field and threatens the Rhinos’ chance at winning Sunday’s game.
  • A Weighty Problem: Bubba’s overweight problem threatens to have him and Ed traded to a team in Alaska, so he goes on a crash diet program concocted by Ed. But neighbor Pertwee is ecstatic that the next-door “savages” may have to move, and schemes to sabotage every diet effort by the Huddles and McCoys.
  • The Ramblin’ Wreck: Pertwee’s new acquisition, and love, is an antique European roadster. After he leaves on a business trip, it doesn’t take long before Bubba and Ed accidentally turn it into a pile of parts. When Pertwee returns early, the boys enlist the help of Freight Train and the other Rhino players to rebuild the car, and buy time by letting Pertwee think it’s been stolen.
  • The Offensives: Inspired by a rival pro football player who’s made a 2nd career as a pop singer, Ed, Bubba and Freight Train create their own trio, “The Offensives.” With Pertwee as their agent at a 50% fee, the boys are booked into the hottest nightclub in town. Unfortunately, Coach Mad Dog has instituted a new “no moonlighting” policy for his players, suspending any violators from the team.
  • Hot Dog Hannah: Hot Dog Hannah, an elderly snack vendor at the football stadium, is actually rich from investing in real estate and hides her huge fortune in her mattress. But since she lives in a shack at the city dump, everyone, including Ed and Bubba think she’s destitute. With good intentions, they fix up her shack and replace her mattress. Learning their mistake, the boys begin a scavenger hunt to find Hannah’s fortune before she sues them.
  • To Catch a Thief: Marge has scrimped and saved $100 to surprise Ed with a sports jacket he wants. Ed accidentally finds the money, assumes she’s been holding out on the family finances, and in a huff he takes the money and splurges on himself. Marge thinks the money has been stolen and calls the police. Now that Ed knows the truth, he has to find a way to replace the money and keep Marge from knowing how he doubted her, and before amateur investigator Pertwee figures it out.
  • Get That Letter Back: Ed and Bubba invest the families’ savings into a car wash, and are so sure of financial success, they send an angry letter to Coach Mad Dog and resign from the Rhinos. They learn that a new highway project will reroute all traffic from their business, and now the mad rush is on to retrieve their letter from the post before Coach receives it.
  • The Odd Trio: A storm damages the neighborhood, and while Pertwee fights with his insurance company, Ed and Bubba set out to repair their own houses. Ed’s ladder falls on Claude, and rather than continue dealing with his insurance man, he exaggerates his injuries and threatens a lawsuit, turning Ed and Bubba into his personal repairmen and servants. Because of Pertwee, the boys may have to miss Sunday’s big game.
  • A Sticky Affair: Rhino quarterback Ed has fallen into a fumbling slump, so Bubba cooks up an idea to put glue on his hands before the game. Not just any glue, but Bubba’s homemade concoction. His invention turns into a superglue, and with Pertwee’s help they’re in a get-rich-quick scheme to put it on the market. Bubba can’t remember his recipe, and when the boys look for their last remaining batch to be analyzed, they discover it’s been picked up in the trash.
  • One Man’s Family: As a favor, Ed goes to Bubba’s doctor to pick up his buddy’s test results. Overhearing the doctor, Ed thinks that Bubba is pregnant! Pampering his best friend, Huddles soon has the entire Rhino team coddling Bubba, even during Sunday’s game.

 

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