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, 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.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

New Releases - June 10, 2014

Blu-rays:

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Stunningly beautiful hi-def remake of the ground-breaking original Carl Sagan science TV miniseries that explores the origins of the earth, humans, and our place in the universe. Neil Degrasse Tyson hosted this acclaimed new version. Highly recommended! 2014. Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Devil's Knot [Cult director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica) directed this true crime story based on the 1993 case in which 3 young boys go missing in West Memphis, Arkansas and three boys who are possible devil worshippers are accused of their murders. The first-rate cast includes Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Dane Dehaan, Kevin Durand, Elias Koteas, Bruce Greenwood, and Mireille Enos. This is based on the same events covered by the Paradise Lost documentaries. 2014. Unrated. 114 minutes.] 

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit [Star Trek's Chris Pine stars as young CIA analyst Ryan who discovers a Russian plot to topple the US economy with a terrorist attack in this exciting reboot of the famous Tom Clancy action series that included The Hunt for Red October, and A Clear and Present Danger. Pine has some big shoes to fill as he replaces previous Ryans Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck, but he does a very good job under Kenneth Branagh's sterling direction. The fine cast also showcases Kevin Costner, Branagh, Keira Knightley, Peter Anderson, and Colm Feore. Recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. Box Office: $51 million.]

Non-Stop [2014] [Enjoyably over-the-top hit thriller in which Air Marshal Liam Neeson has to find out who is texting him for a ransom or else the killing will start while onboard a packed jet with hundreds of suspects! Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockerey, Lupita Nyong'o, Scoot McNairy, and Corey Stoll also star. Directed by Jaume Collet-Sera, who did Orphan and the great, underrated thriller Unknown also with Neeson. Highly recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 106 minutes. Box Office: $92 million.]

Tim's Vermeer [Fascinating art documentary about Texas inventor Tim Jenison who explores how Dutch painter Vermeer painted so photo realistically ahead of his time by visiting Holland, talking to artist David Hockney, and traveling to Buckingham Palace. Directed by Teller of magicians-actors Penn and Teller fame. Penn Gillette also puts in an appearance. Highly Recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 80 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

True Detective: Season 1 [Terrific HBO TV noir series with amazing and riveting performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two very different detectives (McConaughey as the ethereal, intellectual and out of the box thinker and Harrelson as the cynical, seemingly straight forward married one) working on a totally twisted serial killer case that takes years to unravel as their relationship goes through infinite changes. Attractive Michelle Monaghan and Alexandra Daddario are also stunning as the women in their lives. This is one of the best series of 2014 (and maybe period) and is sure to be nominated for many awards during award season. Oakland native Cary Fukanaga (Jane Eyre) directed all 8 episodes of the unforgettable series created by Nic Pizzolato, who also wrote all 8. On IMDB, the show gets a staggering 9.4 rating. Highly recommended! 2014. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]

Visitors [2013] [Another challenging and beautiful visual and aural collaborative work from Godrey Reggio, Jon Kane, and composer Philip Glass (who did Koyaanisqatsi). This time, they present a black and white experience comprised of various human, animal, and landscape portraits. Unrated. 87 minutes.] 

DVDs:

Adult World [Charmingly quirky coming-of-age comedy starring Emma Roberts as a young budding poet college grad who takes a job at an adult bookstore while trying to learn about poetry from alcoholic mentor/poet John Cusack. Co-starring Evan Peters, Armando Riesco, Shannon Woodward, Reed Birney, and Catherine Lloyd Burns. Directed by actor-director Scott Coffey (Ellie Parker). 2014. Rated R. 97 minutes.]

Alan Patridge [Hilarious farce in which Steve Coogan (Wilomena) reprises the British TV role that made him famous, Alan Partridge, a famous DJ and talk show host who becomes a hostage of angry fellow DJ Colm Meaney (Star Trek The Next Generation) when he finds out he's being fired by new management. Directed by Declan Lowney, who directed the Father Ted TV series. 2013. Rated R. 90 minutes.]

Anonymous People, The [Documentary about the 23.5 million Americans who are living in long term recovery for alcoholism or addiction. Featuring appearances by Kristen Johnson, Chris Herren, Patrick Kennedy, Jim Ramstad, Tara Conner, William Cope Moyers, and William White. Directed by first-time director Greg D. Williams. 2013. Unrated. 88 minues.]

Capital [Fun drama starring Gad Elmaleh as a power hungry young exec who takes over a French bank when the CEO dies and has to stave off a takeover from US forces led by Gabriel Byrne. Celine Sallette, Natacha Regnier, Liya Kebede, Hippolyte Girardot, Daniel Mesquich, and Olga Grumberg co-star. Costa-Gavras (Z, Missing) directed. 2012. Rated R. 114 minutes.] 

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey [Stunningly beautiful hi-def remake of the ground-breaking original Carl Sagan science TV miniseries that explores the origins of the earth, humans, and our place in the universe. Neil Degrasse Tyson hosted this acclaimed new version. Highly recommended! 2014. Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Devil's Knot [Cult director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica) directed this true crime story based on the 1993 case in which 3 young boys go missing in West Memphis, Arkansas and three boys who are possible devil worshippers are accused of their murders. The first-rate cast includes Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Dane Dehaan, Kevin Durand, Elias Koteas, Bruce Greenwood, and Mireille Enos. This is based on the same events covered by the Paradise Lost documentaries. 2014. Unrated. 114 minutes.]

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit [Star Trek's Chris Pine stars as young CIA analyst Ryan who discovers a Russian plot to topple the US economy with a terrorist attack in this exciting reboot of the famous Tom Clancy action series that included The Hunt for Red October, and A Clear and Present Danger. Pine has some big shoes to fill as he replaces previous Ryans Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck, but he does a very good job under Kenneth Branagh's sterling direction. The fine cast also showcases Kevin Costner, Branagh, Keira Knightley, Peter Anderson, and Colm Feore. Recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. Box Office: $51 million.]

Non-Stop [2014] [Enjoyably over-the-top hit thriller in which Air Marshal Liam Neeson has to find out who is texting him for a ransom or else the killing will start while onboard a packed jet with hundreds of suspects! Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockerey, Lupita Nyong'o, Scoot McNairy, and Corey Stoll also star. Directed by Jaume Collet-Sera, who did Orphan and the great, underrated thriller Unknown also with Neeson. Highly recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 106 minutes. Box Office: $92 million.]

Omar [2013] [Acclaimed Palestinian drama about a Palestinian freedom fighter who agrees to be an informer when he is framed in an  Israeli soldier's killing. Starring Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Waleed F. Zuaiter, Eyad Hourani, and Samer Bisharat. Directed by Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now). Unrated. 96 minutes.]

Patrick: Evil Awakens [More graphic remake of the fun Australian cult classic horrorshow about a comatose young man who catches the attention of a pretty nurse he starts to manipulate in a terrifying way. Starring Sharni Vinson, Charles Dance, and Rachel Griffiths. Directed by Mark Hartley, who made the terrific documentary about Oz exploitation, Not Quite Hollywood. 2013. Unrated. 96 minutes.]

Perfect Sisters [Chilling true thriller starring Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley as two sisters whose alcoholic mother seemingly drowns in a bathtub, but rumors soon swirl about what really happened. James Russo, Mira Sorvino, Rusty Schwimmer, Zoe Belkin, and Jeffrey Ballard also star in this suspense film featuring the directing debut of Stanley M. Brooks. 2014. Unrated. 100 minutes.]

Ray Donovan: Season 1 [Liev Schreiber is great in the title role of this Showtime drama about a fixer/hit man for L.A. celebrities, athletes, and moguls whose life unravels when his gangster father Jon Voight is released from prison. The excellent cast includes Elliott Gould, Paula Malcolmson, Eddie Marsan, Dash Mihok, Steven Bauer, Katherine Moening, Pooch Hall, Keris Dorsey, Devon Bagby, and Rosanna Arquette. Highly Recommded! 2013. Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Short History of Decay, A [Bittersweet, well-reviewed comedy starring Bryan Greenberg as a failed Brooklyn writer whose successful author/girlfriend leaves him, and his life is further thrown in flux when he has to visit his dad, who has had a stroke, and his Alzheimer's stricken mom in Florida. Also starring Harris Yulin, Linda Lavin, Kathleen Rose Perkins, Benjamin King, Rebecca Dayan, and Emmanuelle Chriqui. Directing debut of Michael Maren. 2014. Rated R. 94 minutes.] 

Tim's Vermeer [Fascinating art documentary about Texas inventor Tim Jenison who explores how Dutch painter Vermeer painted so photo realistically ahead of his time by visiting Holland, talking to artist David Hockney, and traveling to Buckingham Palace. Directed by Teller of magicians-actors Penn and Teller fame. Penn Gillette also puts in an appearance. Highly Recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 80 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

True Detective: Season 1 [Terrific HBO TV noir series with amazing and riveting performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as two very different detectives (McConaughey as the ethereal, intellectual and out of the box thinker and Harrelson as the cynical, seemingly straight forward married one) working on a totally twisted serial killer case that takes years to unravel as their relationship goes through infinite changes. Attractive Michelle Monaghan and Alexandra Daddario are also stunning as the women in their lives. This is one of the best series of 2014 (and maybe period) and is sure to be nominated for many awards during award season. Oakland native Cary Fukanaga (Jane Eyre) directed all 8 episodes of the unforgettable series created by Nic Pizzolato, who also wrote all 8. On IMDB, the show gets a staggering 9.4 rating. Highly recommended! 2014. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]

Unacceptable Levels [Stunning documentary by Ed Brown about all the chemicals in and around our body, which is a lot since we have about 232 industrial chemicals around us on average. Ralph Nader, Dr. Richard Clapp, Ken Cook, Christopher Gavigan, Randy Hayes, Dr. Alan Greene, Jeffrey Hollander, Andy Igrejas, Stacy Malkan, and Dr. Jennifer Saas are some of the experts interviewed. 2014. Unrated. 76 minutes.]

Visitors [2013] [Another challenging and beautiful visual and aural collaborative work from Godrey Reggio, Jon Kane, and composer Philip Glass (who did Koyaanisqatsi). This time, they present a black and white experience comprised of various human, animal, and landscape portraits. Unrated. 87 minutes.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

New Releases - June 3, 2014

Blu-rays:

Lone Survivor [Fine performances make this true war story a compelling and moving film as four Navy SEALs go on a dangerous mission in the Afghanistan mountains that turns into an ambush leaving only one survivor. The excellent cast features Mark Wahlberg (in one of his best performances), Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, and Taylor Kitsch. Actor turned director Peter Berg (Battleship, Friday Night Lights) directed this hit action drama that was a cut above the normal war film docudrama. 2013. Rated R. 121 minutes. Box Office: $126 million.]

Robocop [2014] [Solid remake of the sci-fi action classic about a tough future cop who is nearly killed but brought back to life as a half robot/half man thanks to an evil corporation. Joel Kinnaman (who is so great in TV's The Killing) is excellent in the title role, and he's supported by a memorable list of co-stars: Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean Baptiste, and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Jose Padilha (Bus 174, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within). Rated PG-13. 117 minutes. Box Office: $59 million.]

Son of God [This visually stunning epic version of the New Testament and  the life of Jesus Christ benefited from the return of magnetic star Diego Morgado in the title role that he also played in the hit TV miniseries The Bible. The movie received critical acclaim for director Christopher Spencer, who directed 3 episodes of the miniseries as well, and became one of the biggest religious film hits since Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Gary Oliver, David Rintoul, Paul Knops, and Sebastian Knapp also star. 2014. Rated PG-13. 138 minutes. Box Office: $60 million.]

DVDs:

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction [Critics went wild for this fascinating documentary about character actor Stanton (Repo Man, Alien, Paris, Texas), who proves to be just as quirky in person as the characters he plays. Sophie Huber directed this equally unusual and evocative portrait that contains many clips from his 250 films and interviews with pals and co-workers David Lynch,  Kris Kristofferson, Deborah Harry, Wim Wenders, and Sam Shepard. Highly recommended! 2013. Unrated. 77 minutes.]

Lone Survivor [Fine performances make this true war story a compelling and moving film as four Navy SEALs go on a dangerous mission in the Afghanistan mountains that turns into an ambush leaving only one survivor. The excellent cast features Mark Wahlberg (in one of his best performances), Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, and Taylor Kitsch. Actor turned director Peter Berg (Battleship, Friday Night Lights) directed this hit action drama that was a cut above the normal war film docudrama. 2013. Rated R. 121 minutes. Box Office: $126 million.]

Mirage Men [Intriguing conspiracy theory documentary uncovering a bizarre government plot in which the US Air Force and intelligence agencies intentionally created UFO myths to mask spy operations! Directed by John Lundberg, Roland Dennings, and Kypros Kypriano. 2014. Unrated. 85 minutes.]

New Tricks: Season 10 [In its 10th season, this popular British cold case TV crime show gets a bit of a welcome shakeup. While the regular cast (Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman, Alun  Armstrong, Marc Bolam, and Denis Lawson) solve their last cases as a team, they then welcome a new boss in Tamzin Outhwaite and add a new member (Nicholas Lyndhurst).  2014. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]

Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself [Fun documentary about the late, fabled journalist who tried pro football, boxing, baseball, acting and other exciting endeavors to tell his readers what it was like to push the envelope as an athlete or other professionals. Friends Hugh Hefner, Robert Kennedy Jr., James Lipton, and Mel Stuart appear. Directed by Tom Bean and Luke Poling. 2014. Unrated. 89 minutes.] 

Robocop [2014] [Solid remake of the sci-fi action classic about a tough future cop who is nearly killed but brought back to life as a half robot/half man thanks to an evil corporation. Joel Kinnaman (who is so great in TV's The Killing) is excellent in the title role, and he's supported by a memorable list of co-stars: Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean Baptiste, and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Jose Padilha (Bus 174, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within). Rated PG-13. 117 minutes. Box Office: $59 million.]

Small Time [2014] [Likable comedy starring Christopher Meloni as a used car salesman who teaches his son his tricks, turning him into a first class jerk but also one helluva salesman. Co-starring Bridget Moynahan, Dean Norris, Devon Bostick, Xander Berkeley, Amaury Nolasco, Garcelle Beauvais, Charles Halford, and Ronnie Gene Blevins. The feature film directing debut of Joel Surnow, the writer-producer from TV's 24. 2014. Rated R. 104 minutes.]

Son of God [This visually stunning epic version of the New Testament and  the life of Jesus Christ benefited from the return of magnetic star Diego Morgado in the title role that he also played in the hit TV miniseries The Bible. The movie received critical acclaim for director Christopher Spencer, who directed 3 episodes of the miniseries as well, and became one of the biggest religious film hits since Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. Gary Oliver, David Rintoul, Paul Knops, and Sebastian Knapp also star. 2014. Rated PG-13. 138 minutes. Box Office: $60 million.]

Valentine Road [Moving documentary about a 2008 school shooting in which an openly gay boy was killed by another classmate in Oxnard, California. The feature film directing debut of actress Marta Cunningham, a Northern California native. 2013. Unrated. 89 minutes.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

New Releases - May 27, 2014

Blu-Rays:

Endless Love [2014] [Solid remake of the classic melodrama about a rich teen beauty who falls in love with a nice-looking and charismatic regular guy that develops into an even deeper affair when the parents object to their relationship. Gabriella Wilde (the current remake queen who also did the recent Carrie and The Three Musketeers redos) and Alex Pettyfer (I Am Four, Magic Mike) are excellent in the lead roles, and veteran supporting cast includes Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Rhys Wakefield, and Dayo Okeriyi. Directed by Shana Feste (Country Strong, The Greatest). Rated PG-13. 104 minutes. Box Office: $24 million.]

Gambit [2012] [If you are a fan of the delightful 1966 original heist film, be prepared for something almost completely different. In this wacky slapstick version, written by the Coen Brothers, Colin Firth stars as the hapless assistant to horrible millionaire Alan Rickman. To get back at his boss, Firth hatches an elaborate scheme to sell him a fake Monet with the help of rodeo queen Cameron Diaz. Like the Coesn' Burn After Reading and Intolerable Cruelty, chaos and dangerous pratfalls ensue.  Veterans Tom Courtenay and Cloris Leachman also star. The main attraction will be the first rate cast and the Coen script, but it did only moderate box office when in was released in London in 2012 and was not released anywhere else. For trivia buffs, the movie was originally going to be directed by the Coens and was to star Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston in the roles originally played by Michael Caine and Shirley Maclaine. Instead, Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, The Last Station) directed. No matter what you think about this redo, you should definitely rent the original if you are a fan of heist films. Rated PG-13. 89 minutes.]

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons [Wildly enjoyable cult kung fu action comedy about a young Buddhist who has his hands full trying to protect his village from 3 demons while romancing a hot demon hunter and getting inspiration from the Monkey King. Starring Shu Qi, Wen Zhang, Huang Bo, Show Lo, Lee Sheung Ching, Chiu Chi Ling, and Chrissie Chau. Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer) and Chi-kin Kwok directed. Full of great fight scenes and superb special effects. Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 110 minutes.]

DVDs:

Birder's Guide to Everything, A [Cute comedy about a teen birding fan who ducks out on his father's remarriage to go out with friends to find a rare bird. The offbeat cast features Ben Kingsley, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alex Wolff, James LeGros, Katie Chang, Briana Mann, Daviela Lavender, and Michael Chen. Rob Meyer's feature film directing debut. Rated PG-13. 86 minutes.]

Cheap Thrills [Dark cult comedy about a scheming rich couple who put a struggling family man and his pal through a series of escalating dangerous dares one night at a bar for their amusement. The talented and eclectic cast includes Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, David Koechner, Amanda Fuller, and Elisssa Dowling. The acclaimed directing debut of E.L. Katz. 2013. Unrated. 88 minutes.]

Child's Pose [Award-winning Romanian drama about middle-aged architect Luminita Gheorghiu who has to campaign to help free her grown son from manslaughter charges in a fatal car accident that may bring prison time. Bogdan Dumitrache, Natasa Raab, Ilinca Goia, Florin Zamfirescu, and Vlad Ivanov. Directed by Calin Peter Netzer (Medal of Honor, Maria). 2013. Unrated. 112 minutes.]

Endless Love [2014] [Solid remake of the classic melodrama about a rich teen beauty who falls in love with a nice-looking and charismatic regular guy that develops into an even deeper affair when the parents object to their relationship. Gabriella Wilde (the current remake queen who also did the recent Carrie and The Three Musketeers redos) and Alex Pettyfer (I Am Four, Magic Mike) are excellent in the lead roles, and veteran supporting cast includes Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Rhys Wakefield, and Dayo Okeriyi. Directed by Shana Feste (Country Strong, The Greatest). Rated PG-13. 104 minutes. Box Office: $24 million.]

Gambit [2012] [If you are a fan of the delightful 1966 original heist film, be prepared for something almost completely different. In this wacky slapstick version, written by the Coen Brothers, Colin Firth stars as the hapless assistant to horrible millionaire Alan Rickman. To get back at his boss, Firth hatches an elaborate scheme to sell him a fake Monet with the help of rodeo queen Cameron Diaz. Like the Coesn' Burn After Reading and Intolerable Cruelty, chaos and dangerous pratfalls ensue.  Veterans Tom Courtenay and Cloris Leachman also star. The main attraction will be the first rate cast and the Coen script, but it did only moderate box office when in was released in London in 2012 and was not released anywhere else. For trivia buffs, the movie was originally going to be directed by the Coens and was to star Colin Farrell and Jennifer Aniston in the roles originally played by Michael Caine and Shirley Maclaine. Instead, Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, The Last Station) directed. No matter what you think about this redo, you should definitely rent the original if you are a fan of heist films. Rated PG-13. 89 minutes.]

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons [Wildly enjoyable cult kung fu action comedy about a young Buddhist who has his hands full trying to protect his village from 3 demons while romancing a hot demon hunter and getting inspiration from the Monkey King. Starring Shu Qi, Wen Zhang, Huang Bo, Show Lo, Lee Sheung Ching, Chiu Chi Ling, and Chrissie Chau. Full of great fight scenes and superb special effects. Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer) and Chi-kin Kwok directed. Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 110 minutes.]

Run & Jump [Moving Irish-German drama starring Will Forte as a US doctor who travels to Ireland to study a thirty year old Edward MacLaiam who suffered a stroke that changed his personality and forced his wife and mother to take care of everything. Maxine Peake and Sharon Horgan also star. Feature film directing debut of Steph Green from San Francisco. 2013. Unrated. 113 minutes.]

Suits: Season 3 [Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams return as the handsome leads in this popular USA Network legal series. This season, more power shifts emerge as the firms merge. Gina Torres, Rick Hoffman, Meghan Markle, and Sarah Rafferty also return. 2013. Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

Trials of Cate McCall, The [Effective courtroom thriller starring Kate Beckinsale as a lawyer who wants to be reinstated to the bar and win back custody of her daughter after battling alcoholism, so she takes on a murder case that unravels a conspiracy involving the police department. The top drawer cast includes James Cromwell, Nick Nolte, Anna Anissimova, Clancy Brown, Kathy Baker, and Mark Pellegrino. 2013. Unrated. 89 minutes.]

New Arrivals:

Endless Love [1981] [Enjoyably over the top ripe melodrama classic starring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt as young lovers who refuse to stop seeing each other when their parents forbid it. In addition to the believable performances by the young leads, they are ably supported by Shirley Knight, Don Murray, Richard Kiley, Beatrice Straight, James Spader, and Ian Zierling. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli (1968's Romeo and Juliet, Brother Sun, Sister Moon), the movie was a hit and spawned a popular Oscar nominated song, the title tune sung by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Rated R. 116 minutes.]

People vs. Paul Crump, The [William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist) initially gained attention for this powerful 1962 TV documentary about the title character, a young black man who was arrested with four others during a failed robbery. He confessed under suspicious circumstances, later recanted and was sentenced to die while the other four did prison time.  Friedkin so believed in his innocence, he made this film that helped commute his sentence. B/W. 60 minutes.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

Monday, May 19, 2014

New Releases - May 20, 2014

3D Blu-ray:

Pompeii [In this fun disaster epic, Kit Harington plays a slave turned gladiator who tries to save his true love from marrying a nasty senator while Mount Vesuvius erupts and wreaks havoc. Harington, who has become a star because of his magnetic portrayal of Jon Snow on HBO's Game of Thrones, leads a better than average cast for this kind of film: Emily Browning, Lee Batchler, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland, and Currie Graham. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (the Resident Evil series, The Three Musketeers) with an eye toward non-stop action and spectacular 3D effects. 2014. Rated PG-13. 105 minutes. Box Office: $24 million.]

Blu-rays:

3 Days to Kill [Charismatic Kevin Costner has a lot of fun going the action star route that Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone have patented. He plays a dying hit man who must perform one more job in order to get an illicit wonder drug that may help him survive. All this while trying to bond with estranged daughter Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). The fine supporting cast includes Amber Heard and Connie Nielsen. McG (Charlie'a Angels, Terminator Salvation) directed with his usual emphasis on stylized violence. 2014. Rated PG-13. 1137minutes. Box Office: $31 million.]

Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 and 2 [We are finally getting the first two seasons of HBO's terrific TV series adaptation of George R.R. Martin's best-selling book series A Song of Fire and Ice. The epic fantasy tells the tale of the Seven Kingdoms, seven very different lands with distinctively varied people and spectacular locations that vary from deserts to ice to lush greenery who live together in peace under one king (well-played by Mark Addy) despite their differences and bloody past wars and rivalries.  However, those ancient grudges  resurface and bubble over when the king falls ill and all of the clans begin to jostle and go to any gory extreme to gain the Iron Throne that rules over the kingdoms. The amazing cast includes Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Iain Glen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Charles Dance, Jack Gleeson, Michelle Fairley, Rory McCann, and Richard Madden. Although everyone in the cast is unforgettable in their roles, breakout stars are Dinklage who is a scene-stealer as a multi-shaded character known as The Imp because he is a dwarf and who happens to be the most rational man in the kingdom despite being a womanizer and a drunk, Headey as his dripping with evil Lady Macbeth-like sister, Harington as the dashing bastard son of king Bean who struggles to make a name for himself, and dazzling blonde Clarke as the Mother of Dragons who is determined to win back her rightful throne with the help of sadistic armies and her fiery children.  This remains one of the best shows currently on TV thanks to its rich characters and complex plotting that bear repeated viewing. Add to that a stunningly beautiful production, graphic sex and nudity, and an unhealthy dose of ultra-violence, and you have one of the best shows in TV history...period. Highly recommended! Even if you have seen the DVD versions of this, you should watch the Blu-ray versions, which look incredible! 2011-2012. Unrated. 5 separate rentals per season. If these rent well, we will get Season 3 and subsequent seasons.]

Like Someone in Love {The Criterion Collection] [Acclaimed Japanese romance drama about a beautiful prostitute who develops an unlikely relationship with a widower over a two day period. Starring Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okumo, and Ryo Kase. Directed by Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy, Taste of Cherry). 2012. Unrated. 109 minutes.]

Monuments Men, The [In the tradition of classic war comedies like Kelly's Heroes and What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, this likable WWII heist action hit features a great all-star cast lead by self-effacing George Clooney, who also ably directed. Unlike those other films, this one is based amazingly on a true story. Clooney plays a soldier who cobbles together a motley crew of fellow soldiers to reclaim rare stolen art from Nazi thieves while WWII rages on around them. The delightful cast includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Dimitri Leonidas. If you miss good, old-fashioned war flicks, this one's for you. Highly recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Box Office: $78 million.]    

Pompeii [In this fun disaster epic, Kit Harington plays a slave turned gladiator who tries to save his true love from marrying a nasty senator while Mount Vesuvius erupts and wreaks havoc around them. Harington, who has become a star because of his magnetic portrayal of Jon Snow on HBO's Game of Thrones, leads a better than average cast for this kind of film: Emily Browning, Lee Batchler, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland, and Currie Graham. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (the Resident Evil series, The Three Musketeers) with an eye toward non-stop action and spectacular 3D effects. 2014. Rated PG-13. 105 minutes. Box Office: $24 million.]

DVDs;

3 Days to Kill [Charismatic Kevin Costner has a lot of fun going the action star route that Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone have patented. He plays a dying hit man who must perform one more job in order to get an illicit wonder drug that may help him survive. All this while trying to bond with estranged daughter Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). The fine supporting cast includes Amber Heard and Connie Nielsen. McG (Charlie'a Angels, Terminator Salvation) directed with his usual emphasis on stylized violence. 2014. Rated PG-13. 1137minutes. Box Office: $31 million.]

About Last Night [2014] [A delightful cast (Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher Macdonald, Paula Patton, and Adam Rodriguez) propels this charming and funny African-American hit remake of the romcom classic about a couple who hook up at a bar, have a one night stand, and then have to decide whether it is more than that. Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine, Accepted) directed this well-reviewed comedy that is at least as good as the Rob Lowe-Demi Moore original, if not better. Rated R. 100 minutes. Box Office: $49 million.]

Call the Midwife: Season 3 [The midwives return for more drama in late 1950's London. Starring Jessica Raine, Miranda Hart, and Jenny Agutter. 2014, Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]

Grand Piano [Elijah Wood plays a concert pianist who is staging a comeback but is taken back by a note on his sheet music just before performing that informs him he will be killed if he plays the wrong note. John Cusack, Alex Winter, Dee Wallace, and Kerry Bishe also star. Eugenio Mira directed this intense thriller. 2013. Rated R. 90 minutes.]

In Secret [In this 1860's period drama, Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla, Martha Marcy May Marlene) plays a young beauty who is trapped in a loveless marriage thanks to her domineering mom Jessica Lange. Co-starring Tom Felton and Oscar Isaac. Directed by actor-director Charlie Stratton. 2014. Rated R. 107 minutes.]

Like Someone in Love {The Criterion Collection] [Acclaimed Japanese romance drama about a beautiful prostitute who develops an unlikely relationship with a widower over a two day period. Starring Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okumo, and Ryo Kase. Directed by Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy, Taste of Cherry). 2012. Unrated. 109 minutes.]

Monuments Men, The [In the tradition of classic war comedies like Kelly's Heroes and What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, this likable WWII heist action hit features a great all-star cast lead by self-effacing George Clooney, who also ably directed. Unlike those other films, this one is based amazingly on a true story. Clooney plays a soldier who cobbles together a motley crew of fellow soldiers to reclaim rare stolen art from Nazi thieves while WWII rages on around them. The delightful cast includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Dimitri Leonidas. If you miss good, old-fashioned war flicks, this one's for you. Highly recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Box Office: $78 million.]Monuments Men, The [In the tradition of classic war comedies like Kelly's Heroes and What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?, this likable WWII heist action hit features a great all-star cast lead by self-effacing George Clooney, who also ably directed. Unlike those other films, this one is based amazingly on a true story. Clooney plays a soldier who cobbles together a motley crew of fellow soldiers to reclaim rare stolen art from Nazi thieves while WWII rages on around them. The delightful cast includes Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and Dimitri Leonidas. If you miss good, old-fashioned war flicks, this one's for you. Highly recommended! 2014. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Box Office: $78 million.]

No God, No Master [Based on a true story, this fine period mystery stars David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck and Lincoln) as a 1919 US agent who has to find out who is leaving package bombs at the doorsteps of powerful men, leading to a plot to destroy democracy. Ray Wise and Sam Witwer co-star. Written and directed by Terry Green. 2014. Rated PG-13. 94 minutes.]

Pompeii [In this fun disaster epic, Kit Harington fame, plays a slave turned gladiator who tries to save his true love from marrying a nasty senator while Mount Vesuvius erupts and wreaks havoc around them. Harington, who has become a star because of his magnetic portrayal of Jon Snow on HBO's Game of Thrones, leads a better than average cast for this kind of film: Emily Browning, Lee Batchler, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland, and Currie Graham. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (the Resident Evil series, The Three Musketeers) with an eye toward non-stop action and spectacular 3D effects. 2014. Rated PG-13. 105 minutes. Box Office: $24 million.]

Raze [In the tradition of those great, sexy and violent 1970's grindhouse exploitation flicks, this femme centric throwback features a story about 52 kidnapped women who are forced to fight each other to the death bare-handed in a coliseum to save their lives and their families. The hot and sexy cast includes stuntwoman Zoe Bell (Bitch Slap, Death Proof), Rachel Nichols (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and TV's Continuum), Tracie Thoms, Sherilyn Fenn (Twin Peaks), Bailey Anne Borders, Rebecca Marshall, Adrienne Wilkinson, Aliene Quincy, and Rosario Dawson. Recommended for fans of sexploitation drive-in cult films! 2014. Rated R. 87 minutes.]

Stranger by the Lake [In the grand tradition of Claude Chabrol's character-driven film noirs, this thriller stars Pierre Deladonchamps as a lonely man who looks for companionship at a famous male pick up lake in France. He meets Christophe Paou and blindly falls in love, but things and the relationship unravel quickly when a dead body turns up, making both of them suspects. Directed by Alain Guiraudie. 2013. Unrated. 97 minutes.]

Vampire Academy [Fun horror satire starring Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry as two 17 year olds who go to a secret academy for peaceful vampires and half-humans/half-vampires, so they not only have to deal with high school but also vampire issues. Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday) directed this cult hit based on Richelle Mead's best-selling series. Gabriel Byrne, Danila Kozlovsky, Dominic Sherwood, Olga Kurylenko, and Sarah Hyland also star. 2014. Rated PG-13. 104 minutes. Box Office: $8 million.]

New Arrivals:

Gambit [1966] [Ronald Neame (The Poseidon Adventure, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) directed this charming heist comedy starring Michael Caine as a slick con artist who masterminds an intricately planned priceless art theft that mainly depends on showgirl Shirley Maclaine, but when the plot unfolds, things go delightfully awry. Herbert Lom, Arnold Moss, and Roger C. Carmel co-star. The recent remake with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz is coming out on May 27th and is fun but not nearly as much as this colorful and ingeniously twisted classic. Highly recommended! Unrated. 109 minutes.]

Meet John Doe [Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town) directed this superb dramedy starring Gary Cooper as a desperate everyman who agrees to impersonate a non-existent man who threatens to commit suicide in protest and inadvertently becomes head of a social movement. Cooper gives one of his best performances as a man caught between his conscience and powerful men who want to manipulate him and the public. The fine cast features Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan, Spring Byington, James Gleason, and Gene Lockhart. Highly Recommended! 1941. Unrated. 122 minutes. Black & White.]

Weekend of a Champion [Rarely seen documentary about the weekend Roman Polanski spent with race car driver/champion Jackie Stewart as he tried to win the Monaco Grand Prix. Frank Simon and an uncredited Polanski directed. This film was largely unseen until 2013 when it was resurrected presumably to cash in on Ron Howard's acclaimed Rush. 1972. Unrated. 80 minutes.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.