Costa Rican Summer - In this throwback to sex comedies from the 1970's, a bunch of surfer dudes go to Costa Rica to help one of their aunts save a beach motel that is floundering while enlisting the help of a vet surf champion. Pamela Anderson is featured in a part not too distant from her role on Baywatch. Starring Peter Dante, Brock Kelly, David Chokachi, Drew Roy, Max Van Ville, and Susan Ward. Directed by Jason Matthews. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 93 minutes. R.
Dear John - Based on a best selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, this romantic drama stars Channing Tatum as a young soldier on leave who meets and falls in love with a beautiful college student (played by Amanda Seyfried from Jennifer's Body). After 9/11 happens, Tatum is called to duty, and they carry on a long distance relationship through letters, but can their love survive and can he make it back alive? Obviously aimed at women and teens, this five hankie romance was directed by veteran Lasse Hallstrom [Chocolat, The Cider House Rules], who is no stranger to making excellent tearjerkers. Henry Thomas, Scott Porter, and Richard Jenkins also star. With deleted scenes and featurettes. 2010. 16x9 Widescreen. 108 minutes. PG-13.
Def by Temptation - Samuel L. Jackson made an early co-starring appearance in this fun blaxploitation horror flick about a female succubus on the loose in New York, draining the blood from a lot of single black men. Also starring Kadeem Hardison, Bill Nunn, Minnie Gentry, Rory Clanton and John Canada Terrell. With interviews. Directed by James Bond III. 1990. Full screen. R.
Law & Order Criminal Intent: 5th Year - In this 5th season, Criminal Intent began splitting the caseload between the mercurial but brilliant Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe and a pair of new detectives played by Chris Noth (reprising his role of Detective Logan from the original Law & Order) and Annabella Sciorra (as an ex-FBI agent). The cases are also spiced up with guest villains like Whoopi Goldberg and Malcolm McDowell among others. With Jamey Sheridan and Courtney B. Vance. 22 epis spread across 5 discs. 3 separate rentals. 2005-2006. 16x9 Widescreen. Unrated.
Misconceptions - A.J. Cook (the blonde cutie from Criminal Minds) goes for laughs for a change in this comedy about a young conservative Christian woman who receives a message from God to be a surrogate mom for a gay couple (Oralndo Jones and David Moscow). However, things get a little more complicated when the couple show up on her doorstep. Co-starring Sam Ball, Sarah Carter, and David Sutcliffe. With interviews. Directed by Ron Satlof. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 95 minutes. Unrated.
Mystery Team - From Derrick Comedy comes this little seen but well-reviewed R-rated comedy about wanna be detectives who happen to be teens. To the annoyance of most of the people around them, they have solved a few minor mysteries, but when a girl asks them to find a murderer, they are offered a prime opportunity to prove that they are real detectives. Starring Donald Glover, DC Pierson, Dominic Dierkes and Aubrey Plaza. With commentary, featurettes, and deleted scenes. Directed by Dan Eckman. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 94 minutes. R.
Nina's Heavenly Delights - In this comedy romance, Shelley Conn stars as Nina, an Indian woman who returns to her home in London when her father dies. When she arrives, she finds out her family has let their Indian restaurant deteriorate, prompting her to enter a cooking contest to try to prove her worth and restore the restaurant to its former stature. She even finds love when she meets a beautiful woman. Laura Fraser, Art Malik, Ronny Jhutti, and Veena Sood also star. With featurette and commentary. Directed by Pratibha Parmar. 2007. 16x9 Widescreen. PG-13.
Owl and the Sparrow - This Vietnamese drama follows a young runaway girl/flower vendor in Saigon who matchmakes a beautiful flight attendant and a lonely zookeeper, but can she get them together before the authorities find her? Cat Ly, Le The Lu, Nguyen Hau, Nuguyen Kim Phong, and Pham Thi Han star. In Vietnamese with English subtitles. With commentary, featurette and deleted scenes. Directed by Stephane Gauger. 2007. 16x9 Widescreen. PG.
Rain Fall - In this tense action thriller, Gary Oldman plays an ex Special Op turned hitman who specializes in making murders look like natural deaths, but his world is tutned upside down when he is given the mission to kill the woman he loves. Kippei Shina, Kyoko Hasegawa, and Akira Emoto also star. With interviews. Directed by Max Mannix. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. R.
Road, The  - Viggo Mortensen stars in this bleak but well-acted apocalypse noir about a man trying to save his son from crazed cannibalistic survivors and harsh elements after some massive disaster has decimated the world. Based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy [No Country for Old Men] Also starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce, Charlize Theron, Molly Parker, and Garret Dillahunt. With commentary, deleted scenes and featurette. Directed by John Hillcoat. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 111 minutes. R.
Skeptic, The - Tim Daly stars in this horror thriller as a slick attorney who moves into a supposedly haunted house despite warnings. When weird things start happening, he dismisses them as flukes, but as the events turn more personal and horrifying, he finds himself changing his tune. Also starring Tom Arnold, Zoe Saldana, Ed Herrmann, Andrea Roth, Robert Prosky, Bruce Altman and LJ Foley. Directed by Tennyson Bardwell. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 89 minutes. Unrated.
Stagecoach : The Criterion Collection - Director John Ford and John Wayne teamed for the first time in this classic western that pushed the envelope and turned the genre into an art form. Wayne is magnetic as The Ringo Kid, an outlaw who becomes a hero when he helps a stagecoach filled with offbeat characters (including a beautiful prostitute who has been kicked out of town, wonderfully played by Claire Trevor) survive a perilous cross country trip in which they battle hostile Indians and each other. It is still considered to be one of the best westerns ever made. B/W. 2 discs. With commentary, documentaries, interviews and featurettes. 1939. Full Screen. 96 minutes.
Tell Tale - Featuring a much better than average cast (Josh Lucas, Lena Headey, Brian Cox, Beatrice Miller, Ulrich Thomsen, and Dallas Roberts), this horror chiller is also better than average in presentation and premise, which is actually an updated re-working of Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell Tale Heart. Lucas plays a heart transplant recipient who is determined to find out who murdered the man who donated his heart. Directed by Michael Cuesta. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 92 minutes. R.
Tokyo Sonata - This acclaimed drama focuses on the head of a Japanese family, who loses his job but keeps it secret from his family, although they have their suspicions. The longer he keeps up his ruse the more odd his behaviour becomes, creating a crisis that eventually must be faced. Starring Teruyuki Kagawa, Kyoko Koizumi, Yu Koyanagi, Kai Inowaki, and Koji Yakusho. With documentary. featurette and interviews. Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 119 minutes. PG-13.
Tru Loved - The daughter of a lesbian couple finds her world sent into a spin when her parents move from cosmopolitan San Francisco to a smaller conservative town, where their relation ship is considered an anamoly. With Najarra Townsend, Matthew Thompson, Jake Abel, Tye Olson, Alexandra Paul, Cynda Williams, Bruce Vilanch, Marcia Wallace, Jane Lynch and Elaine Hendrix. Directed by Stewart Wade. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 104 minutes. R
True Blood: Season 2 - After building into a strong cult hit in its first season, this HBO show about sexy young vampires who rule the roost in a small Southern town kicks into high gear with this second season as outside renegade vampires and other over the top creatures turn the small burg into a vampiric Sodom & Gomorrah of bloodlust and sin. While a few fans think they've gone too far over the top, most True Bloods are sucking the show up and say it just keeps getting better and better. The hot young cast includes Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Chris Bauer, Mechad Brooks, Anna Camp, Nelsan Ellis, Michelle Forbes, Mariana Klaveno, Todd Lowe, Michael McMillan, Jim Parrack, Carrie Preston, William Sanderson, Alexander Skarsgard, and Deborah ANn Woll. With commentary and featurettes. 12 episodes spread across 5 discs. 5 separate rentals. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. Unrated.
Walkabout: The Criterion Collection - Nicholas Roeg [Don't Look Now and Performance] directed this stunning cult film that is one of the most beautiful and striking films of the 1970's. Jenny Agutter and Lucien John star as a teenage girl and her younger brother who are left to fend for themselves in the Australian outback when their father goes nuts and kills himself. A young Aboriginie (well-played by David Gulpilil) helps them survive in the rough terrain, but as their bond grows despite a lack of knowledge of each other's languages and civilizations, it becomes clear that the innocent orphans are not the only ones learning a lesson in life. John is appropriately precocious as the young boy, but Agutter gives a star-making performance as the luminous teenager who is coming of age. Director Roeg also excels at letting his stars and landscape tell the story through action and nuance without using much dialogue, and he handled the exquisite cinemtaography, which makes sense since he was a great cinematographer before he became a great maverick director [also check out Bad Timing for an entirely different but even more jaw-dropping cult film]. Required viewing for any lovers of pure cinema. Composer John Barry (who scored most of the best James Bond films, The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa and many other classics) provides the elegant and lovely music score. With John Meillion. 1971. 16x9 Widescreen. 100 minutes. PG.
William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe - The iconic rogue attorney who defended an eclectic group of clients including Martin Luther King Jr., Attica prisoners, the Chicago 8, American Indians protesting at Wounded Knee and some other shockers is intimately profiled in this excellent documentary directed by his daughters Emily and Sarah, who found him just as enigmatic and hard to decipher as many others. With lots of deleted scenes and audio tapes and interviews. Directed by Emily & Sarah Kunstler. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 86 minutes. Unrated.
World Unseen, The - Set in apartheid South Africa, a free-spirited young woman and a wife & mother fall in love, creating controversy because they are the same sex and different races. Starring Lisa Ray, Sheetal Sheth, Parvin Dabas, Nandana Sen, Grethe Fox, David Dennis, and Colin Moss. With commentary and featurettes. Directed by Shamim Sarif. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 94 minutes. PG-13.
Messenger, The  - See last week's DVD description for the plot. The extras are the same and it comes with the regular DVD as well.
Stagecoach : The Criterion Collection
Descriptions written by manager Steven Y. Mori