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.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Releases - March 16, 2009

Alice in Wonderland [1933] - Rarely shown on TV or anywhere since the 1960's, Universal has finally released this enjoyable and somewhat demented all-star Paramount version of Lewis Carroll's classic tale. Charlotte Henry plays Alice, a curious girl who accidentally ends up in a bizarre world populated by a bunch of oddball creatures. Contrary to Leonard Maltin's opinion that "it's a bore," the movie is far from that. Although Henry is a bit too old for Alice, she is still likable and the great star cameos by Cary Grant as The Mock Turtle, Gary Cooper as The White Knight, W.C. Fields as Humpty Sumpty, Edward Everett Horton as The Mad Hatter, and many others more than make up for some of the flatness of the presentation. Critics tend to forget that this was made in 1933, not exactly the state of the art Hollywood we know today and a full 18 years before Walt Disney's quintessential Technicolor animated version. Also starring Richard Arlen, Leon Errol, Roscoe Karns, Baby Leroy, Mae Marsh, Polly Moran, Jack Oakie, Edna May Oliver, May Robson, Charlie Ruggles, and Ned Sparks. Directed by Norman McLeod. 1933. Full Screen and B/W. 77 minutes. Unrated.

Armored - Matt Dillon, Jean Reno, Laurence Fishburne, and Skeet Ulrich play armored truck workers and pals who decide to help an Iraq War vet co-worker (Columbus Short) pay off his debts by robbing their own firm. While the film is predictable, there are enough exciting setpieces to keep action fans happy, and the cast is solid. Co-starring Amaury Nolasco, Fred Ward, and Milo Ventimiglia [Heroes]. Directed by Nimrod Antal. With featurettes and commentary. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 88 minutes. PG-13.

As It Is in Heaven - Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2005, this moving Swedish drama stars Michael Nyqvist as a famous conductor who returns to his small hometown. He is asked by the local church to help form a choir and doing so rejuvenates him and the town, and he even finds love. Also starring Frida Hallgren, Lennart Jahkel, Helen Sjoholm, Niklas Falk, Ingela Olsson, Per Morberg, Axelle Axell, and Lasse Peterson. Directed by Kay Pollak. 2004. 16x9 Widescreen. 132 minutes. Unrated.

Astro Boy [2009] - The revered Japanese anime classic TV series gets a dazzling theatrical CGI makeover in this exciting animated sci-fi update. Following the original's storyline, a well-known scientist (voiced by Nicolas Cage) creates a robotic boy (Freddie Highmore) in the image of his late son to assuage his grief. The scientist realizes that the robot cannot replace his son and casts him out, and the robot goes in search of a place to stay. After meeting other robots, he is dubbed Astro Boy because of his special powers and ends up being the target of the evil President (Donald Sutherland), and it's up to Astro Boy to save his dad and the entire city. Voices also include Kristen Bell, Charlize Theron, Matt Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Night, Eugene Levy and Nathan Lane. Directed by David Bowers. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 94 minutes. PG.

Bandslam - Much better than your average coming of age tween movie, this smart and well-crafted comedy should appeal to both Glee fans (Gleeks) and young adults who want to relive the better part of their youth. Gaelan Connell plays a taunted high schooler who gets a new start when his single mom (Lisa Kudrow) moves him to another schoo. There, he makes himself over and befriends a former cheerleader (Aly Michalka) who asks him to be the manager for her rock band. Vanessa Hudgens plays his other female friend. Directed by Todd Graff. With commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, and music video. 16x9 Widescreen. 2009. 111 minutes. PG.

Beaches of Agnes
- New Wave director/icon Agnes Varda looks at herself in this insightful documentary that also covers the New Wave movement and her husband Jacques Demy's films. With shorts. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. Unrated.

Big Man Japan -
The Japanese movie monster genre is satirized in this ultra-weird cult comedy that has a man (Riki Takeuchi) inherit the role of a giant superhero who battles bizarre creatures to save Japan only to be shunned by the people he saves. If you thought the creatures Godzilla battled were weird, you ain't seen nothin' until you see this flick. Directed by Hitoshi Matumoto. In Japanese with English subtitles. With featurette and deleted scenes. 2007. 16x9 Widescreen. 108 minutes. PG-13.

Breakfast with Scot -
This acclaimed Canadian dramedy stars Tom Cavanagh and Ben Shenkman as a gay couple (Tom's an ex-hockey player who wants to stay in the closet and Ben's a lawyer who is comfortable as he is) who are thrown for a loop when they have to take care of Tom's brother's boy Scot (Noah Bennett). Scot turns out to be interested in feminine things, so Tom has him play hockey and he is surprisingly good, creating even more identity problems. With Graham Greene, Fiona Reid, Jeananne Goossen, and Colin Cunningham. Directed by Laurie Lynd. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 109 minutes. PG-13.

Breaking Bad: Season 2 -
After winning a Best Actor Emmy for the first season, Bryan Cranston returns as the bored chemistry teacher turned meth dealer Walter with his young partner Jesse (played by Aaron Paul). Now diagnosed with cancer, the drug money pays for Walt's treatments but they soon find themselves over their heads in mayhem and murder as Walt's homelife crisis dovetails into his dealing. Also starring Anna Gunn and Dean Norris. 13 episodes. 2 separate rentals with 2 discs each. With commentary, featurettes, and deleted scenes. 16x9 widescreen. 615 minutes. Unrated.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men - John Krasinski [The Office] makes his directing debut with this critically hailed dramedy in which Julianne Nicholson [Ally McBeal] stars as a grad student who has just been dumped and proceeds to interview a lot of men about why they behave badly. The all-star cast includes Will Arnett, Bobby Cannavale, Josh Cahrles, Dominic Cooper, Frankie Faison, Will Forte, Timothy Hutton, John Krasinski, Christopher Meloni, Chris Messina, Max Minghella, Clarke Peters, Lou Taylor Pucci, and Ben Shenkman. With interview and featurette. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 80 minutes. Unrated.

Broken Embraces -
Director Pedro Almodovar and star Penelope Cruz reunite for the fourth time on this daring film noir homage. Like most of his films, the multi-layered story and obtuse characters are hard to sum up in a few paragraphs but I'll try. A blind screenwriter (Luis Homar) tells his assistant about what happened to his favorite actress Lena (Cruz), and the film flashes back to 1992 when Lena starts an affair with a wealthy older man (Jose Luis Gomez) to keep up her expensive lifestyle. However, she wants to act more than anything, and she meets the screenwriter/director and becomes his leading lady on and off screen, creating a torrid triangle that changes their lives forever and causes the writer to lose his sight and everything he loves. Almodovar tackles the noir genre for the first time and he deftly blends humor, menace, tragedy, truth and lies into a sumptuous mix. Blanca Portillo, Rubeon Ochandiano, and Tamar Novas also star. In Spanish with English subtitles. With deleted scenes and featurttes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 127 minutes. R.

Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey -
This sequel to the hit animated film is being released straight to video. This time the ever-curious George and the Man in with the Yellow Hat try to reunite a homesick elephant with her family. With voice talent Tim Curry, Clint Howard, Jamie Kennedy, Matt Lauer, Jerry Lewis, Frank Welker and Jeff Bennett. Directed by Carbon Leaf. WIth bonus TV epis and game. 2010. 16x9 Widescreen. 81 mins. G.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? - The Morgans are a not so happy married New York couple who may be on the verge of divorce. When they witness a murder, they are put in witness protection and sent off to live in woodsy Wyoming, where they re-connect with each other if not nature. This romantic farce was savagely panned by critics but it seems more like overkill in retrospect. There are much much worse comedies, and although they said stars Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant had no chemistry, there is still enough charm onscreen to carry a two hour comedy. Fans of Parker and Grant should just ignore the critics and have a video date night. The great supporting cast (Sam Elliott, Mary Steenburgen, Elizabeth Moss, Michael Kelly, and Wilford Brimley) is also worth the price of a rental. Directed by Marc Lawrence. With deleted scenes, commentary and featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 103 minutes. PG-13.

Dillinger Is Dead
- Before Italian filmmaker Marco Ferreri outraged audiences and critics with Le Grande Bouffe and Tales of Ordinary Madness, he made this polarizing and confounding drama about a gas mask designer (!). Michel Piccoli plays the lead and the film follows him through one night in his pop art-filled home as he facilitates his addict wife, seduces his maid and finds a gun that may have belonged to John Dillinger. This is the kind of film that people will either find a pretentious, crashing bore or an unforgettable masterpiece that exposes the hollowness of the sixties upper class. You be the judge. The infamous Rolling Stones groupie Anita Pallenberg (Performance and Barbarella) co-stars along with Annie Giradot, Gigi Lavagetto, Adriano Apra, Gerard Malanga, Donyale Luna, Carla Petrillo, Mario Jannilli, Maria Perego, and Carole Andre. Directed by Marco Ferreri. In Italian with English subtitles. 1969. 16x9 Widescreen. 95 minutes. Unrated.

Flame and Citron -
Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale's wonderfully creepy villain) and Thure Lindhardt star as Resistance fighters who become proficient hunters of Nazi sympathizers in Nazi occupied Denmark during WWII. As their body count rises, so do the risks as they become hunted themselves by the SS. This thrilling war action film co-stars Stine Stengade and Christian Berkel. Directed by Ole Christian Madsen. In French with English subtitles. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 136 minutes. Unrated.

Fourth Kind, The -
Based on true stories, a psychologist (Milla Jovovich) videotapes sessions with extremely distrubed patients in Alaska and discovers a common thread: all of them claim to had bizarre and brutal close encounters with alien beings. Just think Paranomrl Activity meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind without the great special effects. It does feature the actual videotaped sessions along with re-creations and does rank high on the creepy meter. Co-starring Will Patton and Elias Koteas. Directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi. With deleted scenes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 98 minutes. PG-13.

Ninja Assassin - In any ninja movie that's worth its salt, there will be blood and lots of it. This one more than fills the bill in that regard and adds non-stop slice and dice action and gore as a master ninja on the run (played by Korean pop star Rain) comes out of hiding to protect a beautiful Europol agent (Naomie Harris) and exact revenge on those who betrayed him. A must for action and ninja fans alike. Directed by James McTeigue. With deleted scenes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 99 minutes. R.

Paris -
Roman Duris and Juliette Binoche headline this drama that is something of a valentine to the City of Lights. The prime story features Duris as a dancer who needs a heart transplant but doesn't want to worry his preoccupied sister Binoche, but several other characters and stories interweave with this story, creating a fascinating view of modern Paris and its struggling middle class. Also starring Fabrice Luchini, Albert Dupontel, Francois Cluzet, Karin Viard, Melanie Laurent, Gilles Lellouche, and Julie Ferrier. Directed by Cedric Klapisch. In French with English subtitles. With featurette. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 123 minutes. Unrated.

Princess and the Frog
- In the first Disney animated film featuring an African-American heroine, this delightful animated musical comedy marks a welcome return to real animation over CGI. On top of that, the story wisely updates and changes the original fairy tale, setting it in 1920's New Orleans and making the heroine Tiana a charming beauty who wants to start an all-inclusive and successful restaurant in her father's honor. A handsome visiting prince rubs her the wrong way but a voodoo spell soon changes that and fun and romance are sure to follow. The excellent voice cast features Bruno Campos, Anika Noni Rose, Keith David, Jenifer Lewis and Jim Cummings. Singer/compoer Randy Newman (Toy Story) once again provides a winning song score, this time with an emphasis on jazz. Two songs were Oscar nominated ("Almost There" and "Down in New Orleans"), and the film itself was up for Best Animated Feature. A must for Disney fans and kids of all ages. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker. With deleted scenes, commentary and music video. 2009 16x9 Widescreen. 98 minutes. G.

Red Balloon, The/The White Mane - A re-release of Albert Lamorisse's two children's classic shorts, these two were available only serparately before. Now you can rent both for the price of one The former is in beautiful color and is a visual dazzler about a boy who is followed about Paris by a red balloon. The latter is a black and white adventure featuring a young teen who is obsessed with a wild white mare and briefly becomes friends with him against all odds. Balloon = 34 minutes. Mane = 40 minutes. Both are in French with subtitles but Mane also has an alternative dubbed narrative by Peter Strauss. Full screen.

Sleep Dealer - Luis Fernando Pena plays a young Mexican who dreams of leaving his tiny village and going to the big city. When he accidentally overhears a secret conversation, he becomes a fugitive. He meets a beautiful woman (Leonor Varela) who may help him get a high tech job, but she also may jeopardize his life in this futuristic thriller. Also starring Jacob Vargas. Directed by Alex Riviera. In Spanish with English subtitles. With commentary and featurette 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 90 minutes. PG-13.

Spongebob's Last Stand
- 6 epis. of the cult TV show. 2010. Full Screen. 89 minutes. Unrated.

Suicide Girls: Italian Villa.
20 sexy Suicide Girls from around the world gather at a villa in Tuscant. With music videos. Directed by Mike Marshall. 2009. Full Screen. 90 minutes. Unrated.

Thomas & Friends: Thomas & the Runaway Kite -
Thomas the Tank Engine and friends try to help a runaway kite. 2009 Full Screen. 46 minutes. Unrated.

Trafic [aka Traffic][1971]
- Jacques Tati directed and again stars as his alter-ego Monsieur Hulot in this hilarious satire based around people's obsession with cars and driving. With Hulot working for an auto manufacturer, you can expect lots of chaos, and as with most of his films, there is little dialog and an emphasis on visual humor. Also starring Maria Kimberly, Tony Knepper, Marcel Franval, Francoise Maisongrosse, and Honore Bostel. With documentary and interviews. 2 discs. 1971. 97 minutes. Full Screen. Unrated.

Wonderful World - Matthew Broderick continues his appearances in offbeat indie comedies with dark streaks as he plays an ex-children's entertainer, who toils as a proofreader and has become a total cynic. His Senegalese roommate (Michael Kenneth Williams) tries to cheer him up, but he remains as grumpy as ever. However, when his roommate becomes seriously ill and his beautiful sister (Sanaa Lathan) comes to care for him, the world starts to look a little better to our anti-hero. Co-starring Jodelle Ferland, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ally Walker, and Philip Baker Hall. Directed by Josh Goldin. With featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 89 minutes. R.


Astro Boy[2009]

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day - With featurettes not on the DVD.

Broken Embraces

Princess and the Frog - Includes featurettes not on the DVD and also includes the feature on regular DVD as well. 2 discs.

The Who: The Kids Are Alright - The great documentary about the history of The Who, the legendary British hard rock group, makes its Blu-ray debut. 1979. 1080p Widescreen. DTS. 90 minutes. Unrated.

Descriptions written by manager Steven Y. Mori

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