VIDEO ROOM

Video Room has been serving the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood since 1988. We carry a large selection of movies on DVD and have an ever growing Blu-ray library. We specialize in hard-to-find and obscure cult classics, TV shows, foreign cinema, and film noir, in addition to the latest new releases. Check out our large Directors section and offbeat categories that make us unique. Kids and dogs are welcome. Senior discounts available. We do same day reservations. Free parking.

Hours:

Sunday-Thurday, 12pm-8pm
Friday, 12pm-9pm

Saturday, 10am-9pm

Email (Questions/Feedback/Requests):
info @ videoroomoakland.com

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Monday, August 18, 2014

New Releases - August 19, 2014

3D Blu-ray:

Amazing Spider-Man 2, The [The first film was a thrill-packed and pleasant surprise reboot, and this sequel is even better as Spider-man (Andrew Garfield) battles nasty villains from Oscorp, including Jamie Foxx as chilling Electro and Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings, Chronicle) as the Green Goblin. Emma Stone, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Embeth Davidtz, and Campbell Scott also star in this exciting hit sequel. Highly Recommended! 2014. PG-13. 142 minutes. Box Office: $203 million.]

Blu-rays:

Amazing Spider-Man 2, The [The first film was a thrill-packed and pleasant surprise reboot, and this sequel is even better as Spider-man (Andrew Garfield) battles nasty villains from Oscorp, including Jamie Foxx as chilling Electro and Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings, Chronicle) as the Green Goblin. Emma Stone, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Embeth Davidtz, and Campbell Scott also star in this exciting hit sequel. Highly Recommended! 2014. PG-13. 142 minutes. Box Office: $203 million.]

Fading Gigolo [John Turturro directed and stars in this hilarious Woody Allenish romantic comedy with Turturro as a New York guy who decides to become a gigolo to help his cash-challenged pal (played by Woody Allen, of course) who also becomes his manager with unexpected results. The terrific cast includes Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Live Schreiber, and Tonya Pinkins. Fans of both Turturro and Woody should be pleased with this delightful farce. Highly Recommended! 2014. Rated R. 90 minutes. Box Office: $4 million.]

Only Lovers Left Alive [After a 4 year absence from the big screen, cult director Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Dead Man) returned with this typically quirky and fascinating tale of centuries old vampire lovers Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston who reunite but are rudely interrupted by Swinton's sexy and wild younger sister Mia Wasikowska who shakes things up. Co-starring Anton Yelchin, John Hurt, and Jeffrey Wright. 2013. Rated R. 123 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

DVDs:

Amazing Spider-Man 2, The [The first film was a thrill-packed and a pleasant surprise reboot, and this sequel is even better as Spider-man (Andrew Garfield) battles nasty villains from Oscorp, including Jamie Foxx as chilling Electro and Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings, Chronicle) as the Green Goblin. Emma Stone, Colm Feore, Felicity Jones, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field, Embeth Davidtz, and Campbell Scott also star in this exciting hit sequel. Highly Recommended! 2014. PG-13. 142 minutes. Box Office: $203 million.]

Auction, The [Elegant but simple Canadian drama about a farmer with no sons and two daughters who decides to sell his farm when one of them has financial woes. Starring Gabriel Arcand, Lucie Laurier, Gilles Renaud, Johann-Marie Tremblay, and Sophie Desmaris. Directed by Sebastian Pilote. From Film Movement. 2013. Unrated. 111 minutes.]

Boardwalk Empire: Season 4 [This season, Steve Buscemi's Nucky is laying low after surviving another battle for power, but don't worry, he's still up to his neck in corruption and bootlegging. Patricia Arquette makes a welcome and memorable guest arc. Kelly Macdoanld and Michael Shannon also return. 2013. Unrated.  4 separate rentals.]

Fading Gigolo [John Turturro directed and stars in this hilarious Woody Allenish romantic comedy with Turturro as a New York guy who decides to become a gigolo to help his cash-challenged pal (played by Woody Allen, of course) who also becomes his manager with unexpected results. The terrific cast includes Sofia Vergara, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Live Schreiber, and Tonya Pinkins. Fans of both Turturro and Woody should be pleased with this delightful farce. Highly Recommended! 2014. Rated R. 90 minutes. Box Office: $4 million.]

Good Wife, The: Season 5 [One of network TV's best dramas returns with one of its best seasons with title character Juliana Margulies giving another superb performance as she goes through shocking twists, changes,  cast exits, and guest stars galore. The excellent cast includes Josh Charles, Chris Noth, Matt Czuchry, Alan Cumming, Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, Michael J. Fox, and Archie Punjabi. Highly Recommended! 2013-2014. Unrated. 6 separate rentals.]

Only Lovers Left Alive [After a 4 year absence from the big screen, cult director Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Dead Man) returned with this typically quirky and fascinating tale of centuries old vampire lovers Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston who reunite but are rudely interrupted by Swinton's sexy and wild younger sister Mia Wasikowska who shakes things up. Co-starring Anton Yelchin, John Hurt, and Jeffrey Wright. 2013. Rated R. 123 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Sacrament, The [Creepy, better than average horror thriller about a news team that follows a man looking for his missing sister. Their search leads them to a community where the leader may not be what he seems. Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Kate Lynn Sheil, AJ Bowen, Gene Jones, and Donna Biscoe star. 2014. Rated R. 99 minutes.]

When I Saw You [Moving Middle Eastern drama focusing on a boy who is separated from his parents in Jordan, circa 1967, and tries to reunite with them even though they are in separate refugee camps. Mahmoud Asfa, Ruba Blal, and Saleh Bakri star, and Annemarie Jacir directed. 2013. Unrated. 98 minutes.

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Releases - August 12, 2014

Blu-rays:

Disneynature: Bears [Another beautiful, must watch Disney nature documentary, this time about an Alaskan bear family's cubs as they grow to maturity. Narrated by John C. Reilly and directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey. 2014. Rated G. 78 minutes. Box Office: $18 million.]

Locke [Tom Hardy (Lawless, Warrior) gives an extraordinary performance in this film noir thriller that is virtually a one man show as Hardy plays a family man and successful construction manager who receives a phone call that could ruin his life and goes driving through the night. Writer-director Steven Knight (Redemption) helmed this novel film that is a bit similar in concept to the Ryan Reynolds film Buried. Recommended! 2014. Rated R. 85 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Muppets Most Wanted [The rejuvenated Muppets return in this wild and funny (and a bit darker than the previous film) farce in which they are thrown into a European prison thanks to a jewel heist masterminded by Kermit's exact double.  Of course, there are a who's who of cameos and lots of one liners that will have adults laughing maybe more than kids. The all-star cast is lead by Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, and Jemaine Clement. James Bobin, who directed the hit 2011 reboot, reprises. Recommended!  2014. Rated PG. Box Office: $52 million.]

Railway Man, The [Acclaimed Australian-British-Swiss co-production starring Colin Firth as a British officer who was tortured in a WWII Japanese POW camp and finds out that the main soldier who tormented him wants to confront him again years later. This is based on the real story of Eric Lomax. Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeremy Irvine, Michael Mackenzie, Tanroh Ishida, and Tom Stoke also star. Jonathan Teplitzky (Burning Man) directed. 2014. Rated R. 116 minutes. Box Office: $5 million.]

DVDs:

Around the Block [Aussie-US co-production about an Aboriginal boy who is caught between his love of acting and his dysfunctional family. Starring Christina Ricci, Jack Thompson, Matt Nable, Mark Coles Smith, Daniel Henshall, Trevor Jamieson, Madeleine Madden, and Hunter Page-Lochard. Written and directed by Sarah Spillane. 2014. Unrated. 104 minutes.]

Blacklist, The: Season 1 [James Spader (TV's Boston Legal) gives a mesmerizing performance as a criminal mastermind who turns himself in to the FBI and agrees to give up a list of lethal personal enemies in exchange for working with young but effective and attractive agent Megan Boone. As this terrific noirish series progresses, we learn that Spader's obsession with the agent is very personal and also involves a conspiracy within the government as well as Boone's dubious teacher-husband.. In addition to the great work by Spader and Boone, there is exceptional work done by co-stars Diego Klattenhoff, Ryan Eggold, Parminder Nagra, Harry Lennix, Jane Alexander, Hisham Tawfiq, Amir Arison, and Alan Alda. This was the highest rated new series of the 2013 season and also drew the most buzz of almost any show, for good reason. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! 2013-2014. Unrated. 5 separate rentals.]

Breathe In [Mostly improvised romantic drama about an attractive foreign exchange student who moves in with an upscale NY family and changes their dynamic forever. Although this movie polarized audiences and had both lovers and haters, the superb cast cannot be denied: Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Mackenzie Davis (the breakthrough star from AMC's Halt and Catch Fire), Amy Ryan, Matthew Daddario, Ben Shenkman, and Alexandra Wentworth. Directed by Drake Doremus (Like Crazy, Spooner). 2014. Rated R. 98 minutes.]

Dancing in Jaffa [Uplifting documentary about acclaimed ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine, who returns to his hometown and teaches natural enemies to compete without animosity in ballroom dancing competitions. Directed by Hilla Medalia. 2013. Unrated. 90 minutes.] 

Disneynature: Bears [Another beautiful, must watch Disney nature documentary, this time about an Alaskan bear family's cubs as they grow to maturity. Narrated by John C. Reilly and directed by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey. 2014. Rated G. 78 minutes. Box Office: $18 million.]

Filth [James McAvoy channels his dark side in this black comedy as a corrupt cop who will do anything to get a promotion and win back his family. Co-starring Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, and Jim Broadbent. Jon S. Baird (Greet Street Hooligans) directed. 2013. Rated R. 97 minutes.]

Frankie & Alice [Halle Berry gives a memorable performance as a go-go dancer with multiple personalities who goes to a psychotherapist to try to get to the root of her problem. Also starring Stellan Skarsgard, Phylicia Rashad, Chandra Wilson, Roselyn Coleman, Joanne Baron, and Brian Markinson. Directed by Geoffrey Sax. 2014. Rated R. 101 minutes.]

Girl on the Train, The [Fascinating thriller about a documentary filmmaker who meets a mysterious young woman who changes the course of his current project. Starring Henry Ian Cusack, Nicki Aycox, and Stephen Lang. Larry Brand directed. 2014. Rated R. 80 minutes.]

God's Not Dead [Faith-based drama starring Kevin Sorbo (TV's Hercules) as a philosophy professor who shocks students when he proclaims God is dead, but a new student challenges his lack of faith. Shane Harper and David A.R. White star in this big hit. Directed by Harold Cronk. 2014. Rated PG. 113 minutes. Box Office: $61 million.]

Hateship Loveship [Interesting casting highlights this drama about a wild teen girl who sets up her recovering addict father with her nanny. The impressive cast includes Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sami Gayle, Christine Lahti, and Nick Nolte. Directed by Liza Johnson. 2014. Rated R. 104 minutes.]

Locke [Tom Hardy (Lawless, Warrior) gives an extraordinary performance in this film noir thriller that is virtually a one man show as Hardy plays a family man and successful construction manager who receives a phone call that could ruin his life and goes driving through the night. Writer-director Steven Knight (Redemption) helmed this novel film that is a bit similar in concept to the Ryan Reynolds film Buried. Recommended! 2014. Rated R. 85 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Muppets Most Wanted [The rejuvenated Muppets return in this wild and funny (and a bit darker than the previous film) farce in which they are thrown into a European prison thanks to a jewel heist masterminded by Kermit's exact double.  Of course, there are a who's who of cameos and lots of one liners that will have adults laughing maybe more than kids. The all-star cast is lead by Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey, Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville, and Jemaine Clement. James Bobin, who directed the hit 2011 reboot, reprises.  Recommended! 2014. Rated PG. Box Office: $52 million.]

Railway Man, The [Acclaimed Australian-British-Swiss co-production starring Colin Firth as a British officer who was tortured in a WWII Japanese POW camp and finds out that the main soldier who tormented him wants to confront him again years later. This is based on the real story of Eric Lomax. Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeremy Irvine, Michael Mackenzie, Tanroh Ishida, and Tom Stoke also star. Jonathan Teplitzky (Burning Man) directed. 2014. Rated R. 116 minutes. Box Office: $5 million.]

New Arrival:

Love Streams: The Criterion Collection [Emotionally draining and well-acted drama about two close but emotionally wounded siblings who reunite years later. John Cassavetes directed and stars in this classic that is making its DVD debut. Gena Rowalnds, Seymour Cassel, and Diahanne Abbott also star. 1984. Rated PG-13. 141 minutes.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Monday, August 4, 2014

New Releases - August 5, 2014

Blu-rays:

Divergent [In this fun, thrill-filled start of a new femme-centric action franchise, Shailene Woodley stars as a plucky teen who is branded "Divergent," a person who does not fit into the norm of a future utopia. She is targeted for extinction when she discovers a plot to kill all the Divergents, and with the help of militant dissident Theo James, she literally fights to survive. It's nice to see Kate Winslet in a villain role for a change, and she heads an interesting cast including Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, and Maggie Q. This promising start of a new series was directed by Neil Burger (Limitless, The Illusionist). Highly recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 139 minutes. Box Office: $151 million.]

Need for Speed [Based on the popular video game, this non-stop car chase film features Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul driving cross-country at breakneck speed (shades of the car crash/chase classic Vanishing Point) to get revenge against rich jerk Dominic Cooper, who set him up for a crime he did not do. Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi, and Dakota Johnson co-star. Gearheads waiting for the next Fast & Furious film should find satisfaction with this high octane action flick directed by Scott Waugh (Act of Valor). 2014. Rated PG-13. Box Office: $44 million.] 

DVDs:

Bicycling with Moliere [Fun French comedy Starring Lambert Wilson as a soap opera star who wants to be taken seriously as an actor, so he tries to coax respected and retired stage icon Fabrice Luchini to return to the stage with a new production of The Misanthrope, but which one will play the coveted lead?  Co-starring Maya Sansa, Camille Japy, Geo Marlon, Stephan Wojtowicz, and Josiane Stoleru. Directed by Philippe Le Guay (The Women on the 6th Floor). 2013. Unrated. 104 minutes.] 

Divergent [In this fun, thrill-filled start of a new femme-centric action franchise, Shailene Woodley stars as a plucky teen who is branded "Divergent," a person who does not fit into the norm of a future utopia. She is targeted for extinction when she discovers a plot to kill all the Divergents, and with the help of militant dissident Theo James, she literally fights to survive. It's nice to see Kate Winslet in a villain role for a change, and she heads an interesting cast including Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, and Maggie Q. This promising start of a new series was directed by Neil Burger (Limitless, The Illusionist). Highly recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 139 minutes. Box Office: $151 million.]

Finding Vivian Maier [Compelling documentary about nanny Maier who had a hidden cache of 100, 000 photos and was one of the most accomplished but unknown street photographers. Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel. 2014. Unrated. 83 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

French Minister, The [Star Thierry Lhermite gives a brilliant and magnetic performance as the title character, an attractive but arrogant and quirky Minister of Foreign Affairs who drives his co-workers and rivals crazy. French master Bertrand Tavernier ('Round Midnight, Coup de Torchon) directed this witty and pointed political satire that also stars Raphael Personnaz, Niels Arstrup, Julie Gayet, Anais Demoustier, Bruno Raffaelli. and Thomas Chabrol. 2013. Unrated. 113 minutes.] 

Need for Speed [Based on the popular video game, this non-stop car chase film features Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul driving cross-country at breakneck speed (shades of the car crash/chase classic Vanishing Point) to get revenge against rich jerk Dominic Cooper, who set him up for a crime he did not do. Imogen Poots, Scott Mescudi, and Dakota Johnson co-star. Gearheads waiting for the next Fast & Furious film should find satisfaction with this high octane action flick directed by Scott Waugh (Act of Valor). 2014. Rated PG-13. Box Office: $44 million.]

Oculus [Better than average horror chiller in which a young man is released from a mental institution after being there for years for killing his parents, and creepy terror ensues when he reunites with his sister. She blames an antique mirror for her family's tragedy and vows to destroy it, but the evil reflection that lives in the mirror has more sadistic violence in mind. Starring Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwartes, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane, Annalise Basso, and Garrett Ryan. Mike Flanagan (Absentia) directed. 2014. Rated R. 104 minutes. Box Office: $28 million.]

Trip to Bountiful, A [2014] [Well-cast black TV movie version of the classic drama about an elderly woman who befriends a much younger woman while on a long trip. Cicely Tyson plays the lead that earned Geraldine Page a Best Actress Oscar in 1985. In addition to Tyson's moving performance, co-stars Vanessa Williams, Blair Underwood, Clancy Brown, Keke Palmer, and Devon Abner also deliver memorable work. Michael Wilson made his directing debut here. 2014. Unrated.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Monday, July 28, 2014

New Releases - July 29, 2014

Blu-rays:

Noah [2014] [Epic and well-mounted telling of the famous Biblical story in which family man Noah builds a huge ark to hold two of every animal and as many people as possible who want to survive an upcoming huge flood he predicts, but most of his neighbors and friends do not believe him or think he is crazy. The great cast is lead by Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly (in her third film with Crowe), Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman, Nick Nolte, Douglas Booth, and Mark Margolis. The expensive action drama drew a typically polarizing response from audiences and critics for a Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) film but was considered a hit and a worthy film overall. Highly recommended! Rated PG-13. 138 minutes. Box Office: $102 million.]

Other Woman, The [2014] [Darkly funny comedy in which Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton play beauties who discover they are all sexually involved with the same handsome man (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays the equally sexy Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones)
and decide to get nasty revenge. What they don't expect is the fun friendship that develops. Taylor Kinney and singer Nicki Minaj also appear. This is one of Diaz's biggest hits (although not quite as big as 2011's Bad Teacher) and is worth a look for it's attractive and talented cast even if it bears a strong resemblance to Chasing Papi and John Tucker Must Die. Actor-director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, Alpha Dog) directed. 2013. Rated PG-13. 109 minutes. Box Office: $84 million.]

DVDs:

Half of a Yellow Sun [Moving Nigerian-UK drama starring Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose as two very different sisters who move back to Nigeria in the 1960's and find common ground when a civil war breaks out and both support the nation's search for independence. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rob Davis, Joseph Mawle, John Boyega, Onyeka Onwenu, and Genevieve Nnaji also star. 2014. Rated R. 111 minutes.]

Killing, The: Seasons 2 and 3 [We finally have rental DVD sets of seasons 2 and 3 of the popular and excellent film noir AMC TV series. In Season 2, Mireille Enos returns as troubled Seattle detective Sarah Linden along with her streetwise partner detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman from the 2014 Robocop), and they finally solve the murder of teen Rosie Larsen from Season 1 that leads to a dark, twisted, and shocking cover-up. Enos and Kinnaman give brilliant performances along with a fine supporting cast that includes Billy Campbell, Michelle Forbes, Brent Sexton, Kristin Lehman, Eric Ladin, and Jamie Anne Allmann.  In Season 3, Detective Holder reunites with ex-partner Linden when a gruesome serial killer who targets vulnerable teen runaways may be connected to a previous case Linden thought she solved.  The terrific guest cast features Peter Sarsgaard (in a dazzling performance), Elias Koteas, Amy Seimetz, and Gregg Henry. Highly recommended! 2012-2013. Unrated. 3 separate rentals for each season.]

Lullaby [An incredible all-star cast (Amy Adams, Garrett Hedlund, Jessica Brown Findlay, Terrence Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Daniel Sunjata, Anne Archer, Frances Shaw, and Richard Jenkins) highlight this drama in which Hedlund stars as a young man who reunites with his estranged family and friends when his cancer-stricken dad Jenkins announces he is committing suicide in two days. Actor Andrew Levitas made his writing-directing debut with this film. 2014. Rated R. 117 minutes.]

Noah [2014] [Epic and well-mounted telling of the famous Biblical story in which family man Noah builds a huge ark to hold two of every animal and as many people as possible who want to survive an upcoming huge flood he predicts, but most of his neighbors and friends do not believe him or think he is crazy. The great cast is lead by Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly (in her third film with Crowe), Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman, Nick Nolte, Douglas Booth, and Mark Margolis. The expensive action drama drew a typically polarizing response from audiences and critics for a Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan) film but was considered a hit and a worthy film overall. Highly recommended! Rated PG-13. 138 minutes. Box Office: $102 million.]

On My Way [Catherine Denueve is luminous as a woman who goes on a trip with her grandson while facing a failed relationship and her struggling restaurant in this French comedy-drama co-starring Nemo Schiffman, Gerard Garouste, Camille, Claude Gensac, Paul Hamy, Mylene Demongeot, and Hafsia Herzi. Directed by actress-director Emanuelle Bercot. 2013. Unrated. 116 minutes.]

Other Woman, The [2014] [Darkly funny comedy in which Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton play beauties who discover they are all sexually involved with the same handsome man (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays the equally sexy Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones)
and decide to get nasty revenge. What they don't expect is the fun friendship that develops. Taylor Kinney and singer Nicki Minaj also appear. This is one of Diaz's biggest hits (although not quite as big as 2011's Bad Teacher) and is worth a look for it's attractive and talented cast even if it bears a strong resemblance to Chasing Papi and John Tucker Must Die. Actor-director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, Alpha Dog) directed. 2013. Rated PG-13. 109 minutes. Box Office: $84 million.]

Protector 2, The [aka Warrior  King 2] [Magnetic martial arts phenom Tony Jaa stars as an innocent man who becomes the main suspect when the owner of an elephant camp is murdered and is hunted both by the police and the victim's twin nieces. Co-starring Pechtai Wongkamiao, RZA, Marrese Crump, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam.  Another Thai action hit directed by Prachya Pinkaew (Ong-Bak, The Protector, Chocolate).  2013. Rated R. 103 minutes.]

When I Walk [Inspirational documentary about a 25 year old man who was vacationing with his family on a beach when his legs stopped working due to his encroaching MS. He then picked up a camera and started documenting the affect the disease had on him and how he stayed positive against this adversity.  Directed by and starring Jason DaSilva. 2013. Unrated. 84 mins.]    

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.
  

Monday, July 21, 2014

New Releases - July 22, 2014

Blu-rays:

Cesar Chavez [Solid bio of the famous activist/leader of the United States farm worker movement with Michael Pena (End of Watch, Flags of Our Fathers) magnetic in the title role. Actor turned director Diego Luna helmed this long overdue film with a fine supporting cast: John Malkovich, America Ferrara, Rosario Dawson, Yancey Arias, Wes Bentley, Jacob Vargas, Lisa Brenner, and John Ortiz. 2014. PG-13. 102 minutes. Box Office: $6 million.]

Dom Hemingway [Jude Law gives a standout comic performance as an angry safecracker who spends 12 years in prison and tries to get back the money he is owed and reunite with estranged daughter Emilia Clarke when he gets out. Co-starring Richard E. Grant, Demian Bechir (TV's The Bridge), Kerry Condon, Jumayn Hunter, Madalina Ghenea, and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.
Directed by Richard Shepard (The Matador, TV's Girls). 2013. Rated R. $1 million. Please note that this is available on BLU-RAY ONLY!

Heaven Is for Real [This faith-based hit true life drama stars Greg Kinnear as a father whose son has a near-death experience that he shares with the world despite skepticism and critics. Thankfully, director Randall Wallace (Secretariat, We Were Soldiers) created a moving story without being overly sentimental. The first-rate co-stars include Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Connor Corum, Lane Styles, Margo Martindale, and Jacob Vargas. 2014. Rated PG. 99 minutes. Box Office: $91 million.]

Sabotage [2014] [Better than average action thriller with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the leader of a DEA task force in which a few rogue agents steal $10 million, causing the entire team to be killed off one by one unless Arnie can stop them. The superb supporting cast stars Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Joe Mangianello, Josh Holloway, Mireille Enos, Martin Donovan, Olivia Williams, Harold Perrineau, and Max Martin. David Ayer (End of Watch, Street Kings) directed. Rated R. 109 minutes. Box Office: $11 million.]

Transcendence [Johnny Depp taps his dark side for a change playing a leading artificial intelligence research scientist whose controversial stance draws violent opposition from anti-tech extremists. Things get out of control when his psyche is downloaded into a computer and he becomes a megalomaniac. The story has been done before (in the better Colossus: The Forbin Project), but the excellent cast (Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Cole Hauser, and Clifton Collins, Jr.) keeps this sci-fi tech thriller afloat. Christopher Nolan's brilliant cinematographer Wally Pfister (who did The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception) made his directing debut here. 2014. Rated PG-13. 119 minutes. Box Office: $34 million.]

DVDs:

American Girl, An: Isabelle Dances into the Spotlight [The popular series continues with this story about a nine year old girl who studies ballet at a prestigious performing arts school and feels pressure to compete with equally talented girls and the shadow of her skilled sister. Starring Erin Pitt, Grace Davidson, Genneya Walton, Devyn Nekoda, and Jake Simons. Directed by Vince Marcello. 2014. Unrated.]

Angriest Man in Brooklyn, The [Clever if frantic and manic comedy starring Robin Williams as the title character, a curmudgeon who is told by his doctor that he has 90 minutes to live so he tries to reconcile with his wife, brother, and friends before it's too late. The solid cast includes Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, Melissa Leo, James Earl Jones, Hamish Linklater, and Richard Kind. Directed by Phil Alden Robinson (Field of Dreams, Sneakers). 2014. Rated R. 83 minutes.] 

Cesar Chavez [Solid bio of the famous activist/leader of the United States farm worker movement with Michael Pena (End of Watch, Flags of Our Fathers) magnetic in the title role. Actor turned director Diego Luna helmed this long overdue film with a fine supporting cast: John Malkovich, America Ferrara, Rosario Dawson, Yancey Arias, Wes Bentley, Jacob Vargas, Lisa Brenner, and John Ortiz. 2014. PG-13. 102 minutes. Box Office: $6 million.]

Great Flood, The [Fascinating documentary of how the massive Mississippi River Flood of 1927 forced black Delta Blues musicians to migrate to Chicago and created a new fusion of R & B and rock'n'roll. Directed by Bill Morrison. 2014. Unrated.]

Heaven Is for Real [This faith-based hit true life drama stars Greg Kinnear as a father whose son has a near-death experience that he shares with the world despite skepticism and critics. Thankfully, director Randall Wallace (Secretariat, We Were Soldiers) created a moving story without being overly sentimental. The first-rate co-stars include Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Connor Corum, Lane Styles, Margo Martindale, and Jacob Vargas. 2014. Rated PG. 99 minutes. Box Office: $91 million.]

Justin and the Knights of Valor [A great voice cast (Freddie Highmore, Mark Strong, Saoirse Ronan, Olivia Williams, Antonio Banderas, James Cosmo, Michael Culkin, Charles Dance, Tamsin Egerton, Rupert Everett, Barry Humphries, and Julie Walters) highlights this animated family feature about a young boy who becomes a man while trying to become a knight. 2013. Rated PG. 90 minutes.]

Made in America [2013] [Ron Howard directed this surprising, rousing film version of Jay-Z's Budweiser Made in America Festival that featured artists Gary Clark, Jr., D'Angelo, Dirty Projectors, The Hives, Miike Snow, Janelle Monae, Odd Future, Passion Pit, Pearl Jam, Run-D.M.C., Santigold, Skrillex, Rita Ora, Kanye West, Jay-Z,  Eddie Vedder, and Jill Scott. Unrated. 90 minutes.]

Red Wing [Intriguing drama about a young couple who take in a foster child, but when he grows up to be a handsome young man, the stepfather kicks him out because he thinks his wife is attracted to him. Bill Paxton, Luke Perry, Frances Fisher, Glen Powell, Jaime Gallagher, Will Wallace, Lucas Adams, Breann Johnson, and Joelle Carter star. Actor-producer Will Wallace directed. 2013. Rated PG-13. 108 minutes.]

Sabotage [2014] [Better than average action thriller with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the leader of a DEA task force in which a few rogue agents steal $10 million, causing the entire team to be killed off one by one unless Arnie can stop them. The superb supporting cast stars Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Joe Mangianello, Josh Holloway, Mireille Enos, Martin Donovan, Olivia Williams, Harold Perrineau, and Max Martin. David Ayer (End of Watch, Street Kings) directed. Rated R. 109 minutes. Box Office: $11 million.]

Suspect, The [2013 Korean] [Exciting thriller in which a betrayed agent goes on the run after his wife and daughter are murdered and discovers a huge conspiracy that puts him in danger again. Starring Gong Yoo, Jo Jae-Yun, Jo Seong-ha, and Kim Seong-gyoon. Won Shin-yeon directed. Unrated. 137 minutes.]

Transcendence [Johnny Depp taps his dark side for a change playing a leading artificial intelligence research scientist whose controversial stance draws violent opposition from anti-tech extremists. Things get out of control when his psyche is downloaded into a computer and he becomes a megalomaniac. The story has been done before (in the better Colossus: The Forbin Project), but the excellent cast (Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Cole Hauser, and Clifton Collins, Jr.) keeps this sci-fi tech thriller afloat. Christopher Nolan's brilliant cinematographer Wally Pfister (who did The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception) made his directing debut here. 2014. Rated PG-13. 119 minutes. Box Office: $34 million.]

Young Doctor's Notebook, A [BBC] [Fun, dark, and twisted British TV dramedy starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as a fresh, unprepared doctor who takes the reins of a hospital on the eve of the Russian Revolution and has to consult with his older self (Mad Men's Jon Hamm) to deal with all of his crazy patients and their odd maladies. 2012. Unrated.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Releases - July 15, 2014

3D Blu-ray:

Rio 2 [Even funnier animated hit sequel with heroes Blu and Jewel moving to the wilds of the Amazon with their 3 kids and having trouble adjusting to their new surroundings and neighbors. The great voice cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruno Mars, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy Garcia, and Jamie Foxx. 2014. Rated G. 101 minutes. Box Office: $129 million.] 

Blu-rays:
 
Rio 2 [Even funnier animated hit sequel with heroes Blu and Jewel moving to the wilds of the Amazon with their 3 kids and having trouble adjusting to their new surroundings and neighbors. The great voice cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruno Mars, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy Garcia, and Jamie Foxx. 2014. Rated G. 101 minutes. Box Office: $129 million.]

Under the Skin [Intriguing and sexy sci-fi thriller starring Scarlett Johansson as a beautiful young woman in Scotland whose body is taken over by an alien being in order to seduce lonely men to process their bodies. When she sees her human form in a mirror, she starts to understand and feel human emotions. Co-starring Jeremy McWilliams, Dougie McConnell, and Kevin MCalinden. Directed by Jonathan Glaxer (Sexy Beast, Birth). 2014. Rated R. 108 minutes. Box Office: $3 million.]

DVDs:

Case Histories: Series 2 [Charismatic Jason Isaacs (the Harry Potter series, The Patriot) returns for the second season of this fine British TV crime series as a tough but compassionate ex-Edinburgh cop turned p.i. who takes a variety of difficult and emotional cases the police can't handle. Amanda Abbington, Zawe Ashton, and Natasha Little also star. 2014. Unrated. 2 separate rentals.]

Face of Love, The [In this well-acted drama, Annette Bening stars as a widow who falls for Ed Harris, a man who looks like a dead ringer for her late husband. Also starring Robin Williams, Jess Weixler, Amy Brenneman, Linda Park, Kim Farris, and Nathan Clarkson. Arie Posin (The Chumscrubber, Over My Dead Body) directed. 2013.  Rated PG-13. 92 minutes. Box Office: $1 million.]

Night in Old Mexico, A [Robert Duvall gives another fine performance as an old rancher who goes on an adventure with his grandson from his estranged son for one wild night. Co-starring Jeremy Irvine, Angie Cepeda, Luis Tosar, Joaquin Cosio, Rene Rhi, and Jim Parrack. Emilio Aragon directed this modern day western. 2014. Unrated. 103 minutes.]

Orphan Black [BBC]: Season 2 [Tatiana Maslany gives another bravura performance in season 2 of this fascinating British sci-fi action series about a woman who discovers she is one of multiple clones. Jordan Gavaris, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kevin Hanchard, Dylan Bruce, Skyler Wexler, Michael Huisman, and Matt Frewer also star. 2014. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]

Rio 2 [Even funnier animated hit sequel with heroes Blu and Jewel moving to the wilds of the Amazon with their 3 kids and having trouble adjusting to their new surroundings and neighbors. The great voice cast includes Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, Jemaine Clement, Kristin Chenoweth, Bruno Mars, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Andy Garcia, and Jamie Foxx. 2014. Rated G. 101 minutes. Box Office: $129 million.]

Under the Skin [Intriguing and sexy sci-fi thriller starring Scarlett Johansson as a beautiful young woman in Scotland whose body is taken over by an alien being in order to seduce lonely men to process their bodies. When she sees her human form in a mirror, she starts to understand and feel human emotions. Co-starring Jeremy McWilliams, Dougie McConnell, and Kevin MCalinden. Directed by Jonathan Glaxer (Sexy Beast, Birth). 2014. Rated R. 108 minutes. Box Office: $3 million.]

Wrinkles [Delightful animated Spanish comedy about life-affirming shenanigans in a nursing home as a new arrival  with Alzheimer's gets help from a longtime resident and they bond. This comes in both a Spanish language version and an English version with voices by Martin Sheen, Matthew Modine, and George Coe. Directed by Ignacio Ferraras (The Illusionist). 2012. Unrated. 89 minutes.

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Releases - July 8, 2014

Blu-rays:

Bad Words [Jason Bateman directed and stars in this edgy comedy about a 40 year old guy who decides to crash the national spelling bee thanks to a loophole in the rules, pissing off a lot of parents, adults, and competitive kids along the way. This very funny, subversive farce co-stars Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Philip Baker Hall, and Allison Janney. 2014. Rated R. 89 minutes. Box Office: $8 million.]

Jodorowsky's Dune [Fascinating documentary account of the masterpiece that filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) could have made if he had filmed the best selling Frank Herbert sci-fi tome in 1975 as he had planned. The original cast included Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine, and Salvador Dali. Interviewees include Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss, Brontis Jodorowsky, Jean-Paul Gibon, Nicholas Winding Refn, and Richard Stanley. 2014. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes. Box Office: $1 million.]

DVDs:

Bad Words [Jason Bateman directed and stars in this edgy comedy about a 40 year old guy who decides to crash the national spelling bee thanks to a loophole in the rules, pissing off a lot of parents, adults, and competitive kids along the way. This very funny, subversive farce co-stars Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Philip Baker Hall, and Allison Janney. 2014. Rated R. 89 minutes. Box Office: $8 million.]

Endeavour: Series 2 [PBS] [More intriguing adventures of the young Inspector Morse with magnetic Shaun Evans. This hit British TV series also stars Roger Allam, Michael Matus, John Light, Flora Montgomery, and Patrick Malahide. 2014. Unrated. 2 separate rentals.]

Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa .5 [All new adventures of Johnny Knoxville's Bad Grandpa apparently shot at the same time as the hit movie. Greg Harris, Spike Jonze, Jackson Nicoll, and Catherine Keener co-star. Also includes making of footage. 2014. Unrated 76 minutes.]

Jodorowsky's Dune [Fascinating documentary account of the masterpiece that filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) could have made if he had filmed the best selling Frank Herbert sci-fi tome in 1975 as he had planned. The original cast included Orson Welles, Mick Jagger, David Carradine, and Salvador Dali. Interviewees include Michel Seydoux, H.R. Giger, Chris Foss, Brontis Jodorowsky, Jean-Paul Gibon, Nicholas Winding Refn, and Richard Stanley. 2014. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes. Box Office: $1 million.]

Kid Cannabis [Wild true comedy starring Jonathan Daniel Brown as an Idahoan drop out pizza delivery boy who inadvertently becomes the head of a multi-million dollar pot ring. Directed by actor turned director John Stockwell (Blue Crush, Crazy/Beautiful) and co-starring John C. McGinley, Ron Perlman, Kenny Wormald, Aaron Woo, Corey Large, Bryce Hodgson, Alexander Arsenault, Amanda Tapping, and Lochlyn Munro. 2014. Unrated. 110 minutes.]

Le Week-end [Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan give moving performances in this romantic UK-French dramedy as an older couple who try to rejuvenate their relationship by revisiting a luminous Paris for the first time since their honeymoon. Of course, they go through an emotional roller coaster in the beautiful city. Co-starring Jeff Goldblum, Olly Alexander, and Judith Davis. Directed by Roger Michell of Notting Hill and Venus fame. 2013. Rated R. 93 minutes. Box Office: $3 million.]

Legend of Korra, The; Book Two: Spirits [Part two of the popular Nickleodeon animated series based on The Last Airbender. 2014 Unrated. 2 separate rentals.]

Nymphomaniac Volume I and II [Polarizing cult director Lars Von Trier (Dogville, Antichrist) once again pushes people's buttons with this controversial two part drama starring lovely Charlotte Gainsbourg as a self-proclaimed nymphomaniac. In Volume I, the beaten Gainsbourg is found and helped by older man Stellan Skarsgard, who hears her tell the tale of how she became a nympho in her youth. In Volume II, Gainsbourg continues her story into adulthood as she continues her sexual addiction. The all-star cast includes Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, and Connie Nielsen.  This is the movie that caused a lot of buzz at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival when LaBouef wore a bag saying "I Am Not a Celebrity" on his head on the red carpet. Volume I: 2013. Unrated. 118 minutes. Box Office: $1 million. Volume II: 2013. Unrated. 123 minutes. Box Office: $1 million. These are 2 separate rentals.]

Raid 2, The [This sequel to the original Indonesia-US action hit picks up right where the first film ended with undercover cop Iko Uwais trying to protect his wife and child while going undercover to bring down a big Jakarta mob boss. Yayan Ruhian, Aifin Putra, Julie Estelle, Oko Antara, Tio Pakusawedo, Alex Abbad, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo, And Kazuki Kitamura co-star. 2014. Rated R. 150 minutes. Box Office: $3 million.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori. 




Monday, June 30, 2014

New Releases - July 1, 2014

Blu-ray:

Lunchbox, The [Critically praised Indian-French-German-USA drama about a mix-up in Mumbai's lunchbox delivery system that leads to an exchange of notes between a neglected housewife and a lonely man about to retire that results in romance. Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, and Lillele Dubey star. The first feature directed by Ritesh Batra. 2013. Rated PG. 104 minutes. Box Office: $5 million.]

DVDs:

Like Father, Like Son [2013] [Heartbreaking Japanese drama starring Masaharu Fukuyama as a successful businessman who discovers that the son he raised was switched at birth. Now, he has to decide between his birth son and the boy he raised as his own. Co-starring Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, and Riri Furanki. Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda who also did the acclaimed Still Walking and After Life. Unrated. 121 minutes.]

Lunchbox, The [Critically praised Indian-French-German-USA drama about a mix-up in Mumbai's lunchbox delivery system that leads to an exchange of notes between a neglected housewife and a lonely man about to retire that results in romance. Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, and Lillele Dubey star. The first feature directed by Ritesh Batra. 2013. Rated PG. 104 minutes. Box Office: $5 million.]

Two Lives [German-Norwegian drama starring Juliane Kohler as a war child who was fathered by a Norwegian woman and one of the German soldiers who occupied Norway in WWII. When she refuses to testify in a lawsuit against Norway for damages, painful revelations come back to haunt her and her family. Liv Ullmann, Ken Duken, and Sven Nordin also star. George Maas and Judith Kaufmann directed. 2012. Unrated. 97 minutes.]

Unknown Known, The [Never one to shy away from controversy, documentary master Errol Morris (The Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line) turns his probing lens on Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush's controversial US Secretary of Defense during the ill-fated Iraq invasion and one of the most polarizing figures in his administration. Displaying a grandfatherly countenance (the poster asks, "Why Is This Man Smiling?") but able to spew acidic partisan bromides with the best of them, it is easy to see why he is both loved and hated by the public. 2014.  Rated PG-13. 103 minutes.]

Young Doctor's Notebook, A [BBC] [Fun, dark, and twisted British TV dramedy starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) as a fresh, unprepared doctor who takes the reins of a hospital on the eve of the Russian Revolution and has to consult with his older self (Mad Men's Jon Hamm) to deal with all of his crazy patients and their odd maladies. 2012. Unrated.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.


Monday, June 23, 2014

New Releases - June 24, 2014

3D Blu-Ray:

300: Rise of an Empire [In this visceral and exciting sequel to 300, the Greeks and Persians face off against each other in a spectacularly bloody battle at sea. Relative unknown Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad, Animal Kingdom) heads the cast that benefits from beautiful women warriors Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). Haris Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, and David Wenham also star. Zack Snyder, director of the original, is one of the co-writers of the script. Directed by Israeli director Noam Murro (Smart People). 2014. Rated R. 102 minutes. Box Office: $107 million.]

Blu-rays:

300: Rise of an Empire [In this visceral and exciting sequel to 300, the Greeks and Persians face off against each other in a spectacularly bloody battle at sea. Relative unknown Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad, Animal Kingdom) heads the cast that benefits from beautiful women warriors Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). Haris Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, and David Wenham also star. Zack Snyder, director of the original, is one of the co-writers of the script. Directed by Israeli director Noam Murro (Smart People). 2014. Rated R. 102 minutes. Box Office: $107 million.]

Masters of Sex: Season 1 [This terrific and true Showtime TV drama is based on the ground-breaking sexual research done by Masters & Johnson in the ultra-conservative early 1950's and goes into the compelling details of all the obstacles they faced and the major affect it had on their personal lives. Michael Sheen {Frost/Nixon, the Twilight Series) is superb as the brilliant, obsessed, and unhappily married Dr. William Masters, and Lizzy Caplan (Save the Date) is equally amazing as his intelligent, sexy, and ambitious secretary, who becomes much more as the series progresses. The excellent cast includes Caitlin Fitzgerald, Teddy Sears, Nicholas D'Agosto, Helene Yorke, Beau Bridges, Allison Janney, Cole Sand, and Julianne Nicholson. One of the best TV shows from the 2013 fall season, this is s moving, funny, and heartbreaking show that is definitely for adults and full of sex, nudity, and more. Highly recommended! Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Winter's Tale [A first-rate cast is the highlight of this beautifully filmed epic time travel romance. Colin Farrell plays a burglar who falls for a lovely heiress who dies in his arms, and when he awakens decades later, he tries to save her when he discovers he can reincarnate. Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Lucy Griffiths, Michael Patrick Crane, Brian Hutchinson, Kevin Corrigan, Graham Greene, Will Smith and William Hurt also star.  Writer Akiva Godsman (A Beautiful Mind, which also starred Crowe and Connelly, I Am Legend) made his feature directing debut with this love story. 2014. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Box Office: $13 million.] 

DVDs:

300: Rise of an Empire [In this visceral and exciting sequel to 300, the Greeks and Persians face off against each other in a spectacularly bloody battle at sea. Relative unknown Sullivan Stapleton (Gangster Squad, Animal Kingdom) heads the cast that benefits from beautiful women warriors Eva Green (Casino Royale) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). Haris Matheson, Rodrigo Santoro, Callan Mulvey, and David Wenham also star. Zack Snyder, director of the original, is one of the co-writers of the script. Directed by Israeli director Noam Murro (Smart People). 2014. Rated R. 102 minutes. Box Office: $107 million.]

Blood Ties [A great cast headlines this crime thriller about two brothers on opposite sides of the law who face over organized crimes in Brooklyn in the 1970's. Starring Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan, Noah Emmerich (from The Americans), Matthias Schoenaerts, and Lili Taylor. This French-US co-production was directed by actor-director Guillaume Canet (Tell No One). 2013. Rated R. 127 minutes.]

Bridge, The [US 2013]: Season 1 [Excellent crime TV noir drama starring Demian Bichir as a Mexican detective and Diane Kruger as a US detective who have to work together to solve a gruesome and audacious murder of a woman whose dismembered body is left exactly on the border of a bridge between the two countries. The thrilling investigation leads them to a huge conspiracy involving revenge, human trafficking, drug running, and the depths of humanity. Bechir is memorable and strong as a family man and a rare clean Mexican cop, and Kruger is great as a skilled investigator who has trouble interacting with people thanks to a rare affliction. The fine supporting cast features Ted Levine, Thomas M. Wright, Matthew Lillard, Annabeth Gish, and Emily Rios. Highly Recommended!  2013. Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me [Delightful, star-studded, and tune-filled documentary tribute to the 87 year old acting-singing legend from Broadway's Company and TV's 30 Rock. Friends Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, James Gandolfini, Cherry Jones, Nathan Lane, Harold Prince, John Turturro, Tracy Morgan, and George C. Wolfe chime in. Director Chiemi Karasawa makes her directing debut. 2014. Unrated. 90 minutes.]

Enemy [2014] [Fascinating Canadian-Spanish thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a man who seeks out his exact double when he spots him in a film. Co-starring Melanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Pearce, and Tim Post. Directed by Denis Villeneuve of Prisoners and Incendies fame. Rated R. 90 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Fracknation [Journalist Phelim McAleer co-directed and stars in this topical documentary in which he talks to scientists and Americans whose lives are affected by fracking and tries to discover the pros and cons of the thorny issue. 2014. Rated PG. 77 minutes.]

Jack Taylor: Set 2 [This second season of the sterling British TV series starring Game of Thrones' Iain Glen as the title character, an ex-cop turned PI who is now sober and solving crimes with assistant Killian Scott. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]

Masters of Sex: Season 1 [This terrific and true Showtime TV drama is based on the ground-breaking sexual research done by Masters & Johnson in the ultra-conservative early 1950's and goes into the compelling details of all the obstacles they faced and the major affect it had on their personal lives. Michael Sheen {Frost/Nixon, the Twilight Series) is superb as the brilliant, obsessed, and unhappily married Dr. William Masters, and Lizzy Caplan (Save the Date) is equally amazing as his intelligent, sexy, and ambitious secretary, who becomes much more as the series progresses. The excellent cast includes Caitlin Fitzgerald, Teddy Sears, Nicholas D'Agosto, Helene Yorke, Beau Bridges, Allison Janney, Cole Sand, and Julianne Nicholson. One of the best TV shows from the 2013 fall season, this is s moving, funny, and heartbreaking show that is definitely for adults and full of sex, nudity, and more. Highly recommended! Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Redwood Highway [In this well-reviewed drama, Shirley Knight decides to travel 80 miles on foot to the coast of Oregon to see the ocean of her past for the first time in 45 years. Tom Skerritt, Catherine E. Coulton, Zena Grey, James Le Gros, and Michelle Lombardo also star. Directed by Gary Lundgren. 2014. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes.]

Rob the Mob [In this true crime drama, a Queens couple who specialize in robbing mob owned social clubs get more than they bargained for in one heist that raises the ire of the Mafia and the FBI. Starring Michael Pitt, Ray Romano, Andy Garcia, Frank Whaley, Nina Arianda, Burt Young, Griffin Dunne, Michael Rispoli, Aida Turturro, and Cathy Moriarty. Raymond De Felitta (City Island, Two Family House) directed. 2014. Rated R. 104 minutes.]

What Richard Did [Jack Reynor plays an over-achieving Dublin athlete and student who does a shocking act that ruins his life and the lives of those around him. Lenny Abrhamson directed this Irish drama. Co-starring Roisin Murphy, Sam Keeley, Fionn Walton, and Gavin Dean. 2012. Unrated. 88 minutes.]

Winter's Tale [A first-rate cast is the highlight of this beautifully filmed epic time travel romance. Colin Farrell plays a burglar who falls for a lovely heiress who dies in his arms, and when he awakens decades later, he tries to save her when he discovers he can reincarnate. Jessica Brown Findlay, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Lucy Griffiths, Michael Patrick Crane, Brian Hutchinson, Kevin Corrigan, Graham Greene, Will Smith and William Hurt also star.  Writer Akiva Godsman (A Beautiful Mind, which also starred Crowe and Connelly, I Am Legend) made his feature directing debut with this love story. 2014. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Box Office: $13 million.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

New Releases - June 17, 2014

3D Blu-ray:

Lego Movie, The [One of the funniest and biggest hits of the year so far, this hysterical animated Lego comedy has an ordinary Lego construction worker join a bunch of motley Lego superheroes to help stop a villain from gluing the Lego world into stasis! The recognizable and very funny voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Anthony Daniels, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco, Charlie Day, Shaquille O'Neal, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum, and Billy Dee Williams. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller co-directed this critically hailed hit that should please adults as much as kids. The comedy has made an astounding $256 million so far. Highly Recommended! 2014. Rated PG. 100 minutes. Real 3D version.]

Blu-Rays:

Ernest & Celestine [Nominated for a Best Animated Feature Academy Award, this delightful French-Belgium-Luxembourg animated family comedy focuses on the unlikely bond between a bear named Ernest and a young mouse named Celestine. This features both the original French version with English subtitles and an English dub version with voices by Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Mackenzie Foy, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megn Mullally, Nick Offerman, and Jeffrey Wright. 2013. Unrated. 80 minutes.]

Grand Budapest Hotel, The [Cult director Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tannenbaums, Rushmore) has one of his best films here in this universally acclaimed comedy that is already considered one of the best films of 2014. Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Quiz Show), the great and refined British actor who is known more for his dramas and romance films, is terrific in a change of pace as a wonderfully eccentric concierge at a lavish European hotel between wars who remains unflappable while outrageous hijinks abound.  The amazing ensemble cast includes both Anderson regulars and some newcomers: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Mathieu Amalric, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson. This is also Anderson's highest grossing film ever. Highly recommended! 2014. Rated R. 100 minutes, Box Office: $58 million.]

Joe [2014] [In this moving character drama, Nicolas Cage gives ones of his best recent performances as an ex-con who meets a 15 year old boy and becomes an unlikely role model while he tries to redeem himself. Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins, and Gary Pulter co-star. David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) directed this we--reviewed film. Rated R. 117 minutes.]

Lego Movie, The [One of the funniest and biggest hits of the year so far, this hysterical animated Lego comedy has an ordinary Lego construction worker join a bunch of motley Lego superheroes to help stop a villain from gluing the Lego world into stasis! The recognizable and very funny voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Anthony Daniels, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco, Charlie Day, Shaquille O'Neal, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum, and Billy Dee Williams. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller co-directed this critically hailed hit that should please adults as much as kids. The comedy has made an astounding $256 million so far. Highly Recommended! 2014. Rated PG. 100 minutes. 2D version.]

Machine, The [Intriguing UK sci-fi/horror thriller about two Artificial Intelligence engineers who try to create a fully functional AI funded by the Ministry of Defence, but things go horribly wrong. The cast is headlined by Toby Stephens (Black Sails, Die Another Day), Denis Lawson, Caity Lotz, Sam Hazeldine, and Pooneh Hajimohammadi. Directed by Caradog W. James (Little White Lies). 2013. Rated R. 91 minutes.] 

DVDs:

2 Autumns, 3 Winters [Charming French romantic triangle comedy starring Vincent Macaigne as a man who literally runs into beauty Maud Wyler and falls for her while best friend Bastien Bouillion has an accident and also falls for physical therapist Wyler, leading to an oddball triangle that last 2 autumns and 3 winters. Directed by Sebastien Betbeder. 2013. Unrated. 91 minutes.]

DCI Banks: Season 1 [BBC] [Three chilling crimes collide in this popular British TV crime series starring Stephen Tompkinson as tenacious and stubborn Inspector Banks and Andrea Lowe as his feisty and ambitious young assistant Annie Cabot. Jack Deam and Lorraine Burroughs co-star. 2010. Unrated. 2 separate rentals.]

Death in Paradise: Season 1 [BBC] [Delightful and beautifully filmed British TV crime series starring terrific Ben Miller (TV's Primeval) as a stiff upper lip British cop sent to lovely Saint-Marie in the Caribbean to help solve murders. He is an awkward fish out of water at first unaccustomed to the sunny weather, sand, and laid back attitude, but he eventually warms up to the warmer climate and his crew, especially the sexy and beautiful Sara Martins. Co-starring Danny John-Jules, Gary Carr, Elizabeth Bourgine, Hugo Speer, and Don Warrington. Highly recommended! 2011. Unrated. 2 separate rentals.]   

Ernest & Celestine [Nominated for a Best Animated Feature Academy Award, this delightful French-Belgium-Luxembourg animated family comedy focuses on the unlikely bond between a bear named Ernest and a young mouse named Celestine. This features both the original French version with English subtitles and an English dub version with voices by Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Mackenzie Foy, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megn Mullally, Nick Offerman, and Jeffrey Wright. 2013. Unrated. 80 minutes.]

Escape Artist, The [2014][PBS] [Tense and unnerving British TV noir miniseries starring Doctor Who's David Tennant as a talented barrister who is known for getting his clients out of tight spots, but his past comes back to haunt him when he gets a notorious murder suspect acquitted. Highly Recommended! Unrated. 180 minutes.]

Fighting Man, A [Solid Canadian sports drama with a good cast headlined by Dominic Purcell (TV's Prison Break) as an undefeated but washed up boxer who is given one last shot in the ring and hopes to keep his record clean with the help of his old training team. Louis Gossett Jr., Freddie Roach, Famke Janssen, James Caan, Michael Ironside, Adam Beach, Emma Campbell, and Maggie Dawson also star. Directed by Damian Lee (Dark Truth). 2014.  Rated R.]

Grand Budapest Hotel, The [Cult director Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tannenbaums, Rushmore) has one of his best films here in this universally acclaimed comedy that is already considered one of the best films of 2014. Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, Quiz Show), the great and refined British actor who is known more for his dramas and romance films, is terrific in a change of pace as a wonderfully eccentric concierge at a lavish European hotel between wars who remains unflappable while outrageous hijinks abound.  The amazing ensemble cast includes both Anderson regulars and some newcomers: Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Mathieu Amalric, F. Murray Abraham, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schwartzman, Lea Seydoux, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson. This is also Anderson's highest grossing film ever. Highly recommended! 2014. Rated R. 100 minutes, Box Office: $58 million.]

House of Cards [2014]: Season 2 [Even more nastiness, illicit sex, and betrayal unfurls in the second season of this hit TV drama as the ultimate power couple of Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright continue their ruthless rise to power in Washington D.C. no matter who gets hurt along the way. Michael Kelly and Michael Gill also star. Highly Recommended! Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Jimmy P. [Well-acted drama starring Benecio Del Toro as a Native American vet who bonds with French psychiatrist Mathieu Amalric while trying to figure out what the root of his illness is. Co-starring Gina McKee, Larry Pine, Joseph Cross, Elya Baskin, Gary Farmer, Michelle Thrush, Misty Upham, and A Martiniez. Arnaud Desplechin (A Christmas Tale, Kings & Queen) directed. 2013. Unrated. 117 minutes.]

Joe [2014] [In this moving character drama, Nicolas Cage gives ones of his best recent performances as an ex-con who meets a 15 year old boy and becomes an unlikely role model while he tries to redeem himself. Tye Sheridan, Ronnie Gene Blevins, and Gary Pulter co-star. David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) directed this we--reviewed film. Rated R. 117 minutes.]

Lego Movie, The [One of the funniest and biggest hits of the year so far, this hysterical animated Lego comedy has an ordinary Lego construction worker join a bunch of motley Lego superheroes to help stop a villain from gluing the Lego world into stasis! The recognizable and very funny voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Alison Brie, Anthony Daniels, Jonah Hill, Dave Franco, Charlie Day, Shaquille O'Neal, Cobie Smulders, Channing Tatum, and Billy Dee Williams. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller co-directed this critically hailed hit that should please adults as much as kids. The comedy has made an astounding $256 million so far. Highly Recommended! 2014. Rated PG. 100 minutes.]

Machine, The [Intriguing UK sci-fi/horror thriller about two Artificial Intelligence engineers who try to create a fully functional AI funded by the Ministry of Defence, but things go horribly wrong. The cast is headlined by Toby Stephens (Black Sails, Die Another Day), Denis Lawson, Caity Lotz, Sam Hazeldine, and Pooneh Hajimohammadi. Directed by Caradog W. James (Little White Lies). 2013. Rated R. 91 minutes.]

Major Crimes: Season 2 [In this improved sophomore season, police captain Mary McDonnell's crime solving is made more difficult by her new DA Nadine Velasquez and her personal life involving her troubled adopted teen son and ex Tom Berenger. Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, and Graham Patrick Martin also star. 2013. Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Motel Life, The [Moving drama starring Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff as brothers who work odd jobs, play hard, and drift from motel to motel until a hit and run accident forces them back to their home town and Dakota Fanning, one of their exes. Co-starring Kris Kristofferson. 2013. Directed by Alan and Gabe Polsky.Rated R. 90 minutes.]

Walk of Shame [Fun and rude slapstick comedy starring Elizabeth Banks as a TV anchor wannabe who spends the night partying and wakes up in a stranger's bed to find out she has to get across town in time for a plum job but many crazy obstacles block her path. The first-rate cast includes James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, Sarah Wright Olsen, and Kevin Nealon. Directed by Steven Brill of Mr. Deeds and Litlle Nicky fame. 2014. Rated R. 90 minutes.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.