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Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel - Jason Lee returns for this sequel that turned into a surprising Christmas smash just like its predecessor. This time Alvin and the gang have a hard time going to school(!) but they eventually meet up with The Chipettes, who help them and sing more hit tunes. Co-starring Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate. Directed by Betty Thomas. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 88 minutes. PG.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Squeak Along, The - This contains featurettes, music videos and sing-alongs only. It does not contain the feature film. $2 rental. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 90 minutes. Unrated.
Baader Meinhof Complex, The - This solid German dramatic thriller was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar. Set in the anarchic 1970's in Germany, the children of the Nazi generation grow up to be confused, angry and willing to fight all forms of American imperialism and facism, even if they become terrorists in the process. Starring Martina Gedeck, Moritz Bleibtreu, Johanna Wokalek, and Bruno Ganz. In German with English subtitles. 2 discs with featurettes and interviews. Directed by Uli Edel [Last Exit to Brooklyn, which is not avalable on DVD!]. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 149 minutes. R.
Bad Girls of Film Noir Volume 1, The - Four more classic film noirs from the Columbia vaults. Disc 1: The Killer That Stalked New York with Evelyn Keyes, Charles Korvin, and William Bishop. Two of a Kind starring Edmond O Brien and Lizabeth Scott. Disc 2: Bad for Each Other starring Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott and Dianne Foster. The Glass Wall with Vittorio Gassman, Gloria Grahame. 2 separate rentals. Black & white. Full Screen. Unrated.
Bad Girls of Film Noir Volume 2, The - Four more film noirs from the Columbia vaults with three of them featuring the very hot blonde bad girl Cleo Moore. Disc 1: Night Editor starring William Gargan, Janis Carter, and Jeff Donnell. One Girl's Confession with Cleo Moore, Hugo Haas, and Glenn Langan. Disc 2: Women's Prison starring Ida Lupino, Jan Sterling, Cleo Moore, and Audrey Totter. Over-Exposed with Cleo Moore and Richard Crenna. 2 separate rentals. Black & white. Full Screen. Unrated.
Doctor Who: The End of Time, Parts 1 and 2 - David Tennant stars as the 10th Doctor Who for presumably the last time in this exciting and moving two-parter. This time, the Doc is in real trouble as The Master (played well by John Simm from Life on Mars) and the Time Lords (led by ex-007 Timothy Dalton) try to resurrect themselves so they can kill the Doctor and end time itself. Veteran actor/comic Bernard Cribbins plays Who's stalwart companion Wilf and other Who vets, including Billie Piper, return for some closure. Directed by Euros Lyn. With commentaries and featurettes. 2 discs = 1 rental. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 131 minutes. Unrated.
Education, An - Carey Mulligan gives a remarkable, breakthrough performance as a winsome and intelligent young middle class British woman who decides to skip college and get "an education" by having an affair with a dashing older criminal (charmingly played by Peter Sarsgaard). This excellent dramedy was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress (Mulligan) and Best Adapted Screenplay, but it won the BAFTA (the British Oscar equivalent) for Best Actress and was nominated for 7 others. Co-starring Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams, and Emma Thompson. Directed by Lone Scherfig [Italian for Beginners]. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 100 minutes. PG-13.
Gang Girl - Better than average drama about a young Bronx girl who joins a gang and gets in over her head. When she joins a Scared Straight program, she meets an ex-gang leader who tries to show her the way out to a better life. Starring Jesenia Bailey, Anissa Chalmers, Frances Lozada, Robert Wallace, and Jada S. Louie. Directed by Damian Bailey. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 90 minutes. R.
Lark Farm, The - Paz Vega and Alessandro Preziosi star in this critically acclaimed drama about an aristocratic family who become inadvertently affected by World War I and an illicit affair between an Armenian beauty and an enemy Turkish soldier. Also starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Angela Molina, Mohammad Bakri, Tcheky Karyo, and Mariano Rigillo. In Italian with English subtitles. Directed by Paolo & Vittorio Taviani [Padre Padrone]. 2007. 16x9 Widescreen. 120 minutes.
Midsomer Murders: Set 14. In this 14th set, John Nettles and Jason Hughes again star as the veteran detective and protege who delve into the dark murders that occur in seemingly calm Midsomer County. Another fine quartet of British TV mysteries: Death and Dust, Picture of Innocence, They Seek Him Here, and Death in a Chocolate Box. 4 separate rentals. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 100 minutes each.
Red Cliff: Theatrical Version - Last week, we received the uncut version of this epic war film from John Woo. This DVD is the 148 minute version that Woo was contracted to make for the American audience. Since he had to edit it down from his original 288 minutes version, he obviously had to either edit down or totally excise many of the subplots. Some people may actually prefer this version to the uncut one since it probably moves much faster and retains most of the battle scenes. As a recap, the story deals mainly with a Han Dynasty politician turned general who decides to eliminate two warlords using a huge army. However, his tactic turns out to be ill-fated when the warlords team up and bring down the entire dynasty. Edited or not, this film is still an exciting and stirring war epic. Of course, we also have the uncut version in case you want to see both to compare or would rather see Woo's preferred version. Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Wei, and Jo Jun star. With featurette and interview. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 148 minutes. R.
Sherlock Holmes  - Robert Downey, Jr clearly has a lot of fun playing the world's greatest detective in this action-packed and humorous re-boot for the 2000s. In this first outing, young Holmes and his dedicated sidekick and chronicler Dr. Watson (also wonderfully portrayed by Jude Law) try to get to the bottom of why and how the evil and seemingly hanged Lord Blackwood has returned from the dead to haunt and kill again in 1890 London. Rachel McAdams, Mark Strong and Eddie Marsan also star. Guy Ritchie [Snatch and Rocknrolla] directs with panache. Downey even won the Best Actor Golden Globe (Comedy or Musical) for his performance, and it was such a huge hit that a sequel is already in the works. With featurette. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 128 minutes. PG-13.
Sherlock Holmes Collection [1968 BBC] - Very few people in America even know that Peter Cushing continued playing Sherlock Holmes beyond his excellent portrayal in the 1959 Hammer cult classic The Hound of the Baskervilles, but he apparently played Holmes for one entire season on BBC in Britain. The bad news is 24 of those episodes have been lost, but the good news is that the 5 surviving episodes are finally available on DVD. If you liked Cushing's performance in the movie, you will probably also like these episodes that co-star the equally fine Nigel Stock as Dr. Watson. Ironically, the first disc has Cushing in a 2 part remake of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The second disc features The Sign of Four and The Blue Carbuncle. Disc three includes A Study in Scarletand The Boscombe Valley Mystery as well as a fascinating documentary about "The World's Greatest Detective" and his history in literature, stage, film & TV. The TV show epis are all very nice transfers from videotape with good color considering their age. 3 separate rentals. 1968. Full Screen. Unrated.
Under the Sea [Imax] - Jim Carrey does a fine job narrating this stunningly beautiful documentary about undersea life, shot for Imax in several exotic locations, including New Guinea and The Great Barrier Reef. If you find creatures of the sea fascinating (and who doesn't?), this film. although short, is must see viewing. Directed by Howard Hall. $2 rental. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 41 minutes. G.
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - This Peanuts animated special is unusual in two regards. It is one of the rare episodes to run in an hour slot, and it is also based on the Broadway musical so it has the cast singing songs. Although this show is aimed a bit more at older kids or adults, it still features the familiar but welcome theme of put-upon Charlie Brown triumphing over adversity. With featurette. $2 rental. 1985. Full Screen. 48 minutes. Unrated.
Baader Meinhof Complex, The
Killer, The  - One of John Woo's breathrough films, this cult action classic features a terrific performance by Chow Yun-Fat as a hired killer who wants to do one last job before quitting. Unfortunately, he is double-crossed by his bosses, prompting him to go on a bullet-ridden revenge spree. Woo's style and pace are as dazzling as they are distinctive. Unfortunately, this Blu-ray transfer is getting very negative to mixed advance reviews from both DVD Beaver and users alike, so be warned but no one in the store has tried it out yet. 1989. 16x9 Widescreen. 111 minutes.
Paris  - See the March 16 synopsis for details. Extras are the same.
Sherlock Holmes 
Descriptions written by Steven Y. Mori
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Bigger Than Life - In 1955, Director Nicholas Ray stunned the film world with Rebel without a Cause, the quintessential teen angst classic that made instant stars of James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo. Even before Rebel, Ray himself was considered something of a rebel, having directed several great, mostly over-the-top cult melodramas or noirs (like Johnny Guitar, On Dangerous Ground and In a Lonely Place), and in 1956, he returned to the ripe melodrama with a vengeance, first with an entertaining pulp film about gypsies called Hot Blood with Jane Russell and Cornell Wilde (which is sadly not available on DVD yet) and this amazing true drama about a likable school teacher and family man who discovers he has a rare disease that must be treated with an experimental drug called Cortisone. The drug works well at first, but he soon becomes addicted to it, turning him into basically a psychotic madman in full Technicolor CinemaScope. Although there are many forgotten or undiscovered masterpieces from the Fifties, this film belongs in the top echelon, despite being a box office disappointment, which was understandable since this was released during the height of the Eisenhower Era. James Mason gives a remarkable performance, clearly one of his best, in the lead role as he transforms from complacent father to a totally different person or rather persons. Barbara Rush plays his bewildered wife, and Walter Matthau appears in one of his earliest roles. A must see for fans of Ray and cult films or ripe melodramas. With commentary, a rare TV interview with Ray and extra interviews. 1956. 16x9 Widescreen. 95 minutes. Unrated.
Blind Side, The  - Sandra Bullock follows in the footsteps of America's other sweethearts Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon by winning the Best Actress Oscar for a role that goes against her usual type. Bullock is excellent in this true story about an upper middle class white family who take in a bulked-up abandoned African-American teen (nicely played by Quintin Aaron) who eventually wins a football scholarship thanks to his stepmother's prodding and inspiration. Bullock, in uncharacteristic blonde locks and deep Southern accent, embues the character with a steely strength and dignity that earned her the award. Although the feel-good outcome is predictable (thank you, spoiler trailers), the movie still works, with the movie's success mainly falling on Bullock's slim but sturdy shoulders. Also starring Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates. Directed by John Lee Hancock. With additional scenes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 128 minutes. PG-13.
Brothers - In this moving drama, Tobey Maguire gives an intense performance as a family man and career Marine Captain who is sent to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, his ex-con brother (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) drops in on his wife (Natalie Portman) to help her while he is away. When Maguire is presumed dead in a copter crash, Gyllenhaal redeeems himself and helps his brother's wife cope, but Maguire is not dead and returns to confront his wife and his brother while dealing with post traumatic stress syndrome. Maguire was nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe Award and probably would have been nominated for the Oscar too if he hadn't been so surly on camera when he lost the Golden Globe to Jeff Bridges. It's a shame too since Maguire is superb and went through the rigors of losing lots of weight to look like a soldier who has been captured and tortured. [Advice to Tobey: next time, suck it up and smile and clap or you won't be picking up many awards in the future. Watch The Oscar with Stephen Boyd and also watch Eddie Murphy's reaction to losing the Best Supporting Actor Oscar a few years back to Alan Arkin. Hollywood prefers humility to hubris and so does most of humanity]. Co-starring Sam Shepard. With commentary and featurettes. Directed by Jim Sheridan. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 105 minutes. R.
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Director Wes Anderson (Rushmore and The Royal Tannenbaums) brings his quirky cult humor to this wickedly funny and beautiful animated tale about a family of foxes, lead by a wily fox (wonderfully voiced by George Clooney) who plots a great chicken heist that endangers his family and friends. The animation is clever, appealing, and distinctive and can you get better acting voices than Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson? Based on a story by the great dark children's writer Roald Dahl (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach), it should appeal to both families and cult film fans. With featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 87 minutes. PG.
Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove - Bindi Irwin, the late Steve Irwin's daughter, stars in this fourth installment of the family film series obsessed with freeing whales. In this outing, cute Bindi goes to live with her grandfather (Beau Bridges) in South Africa and discovers an abandoned baby orca, which she names Willy (what else?). Her mission is to get the baby home before the villain can grab the whale and train it for his amusement park. You can guess the ending, but kids will like it. Direct to video release. With featurettes, video diary, and deleted scenes. Directed by Will Geiger. 2010. 16x9 Widescreen. 101 minutes. PG.
Mad Men: Season 3 - Already one of the best TV drama series ever made, this fascinating, funny, moving and biting exploration of the politically incorrect Sixties world of Madison Avenue continued its winning ways in this third season, which won the Best Drama Emmy Award, the DGA Award for Best Directing of a Nighttime Drama Series, the PGA Award for Best Produced TV Series, and the Screen Actors Award for Best Ensemble Cast TV Drama. Jon Hamm is terrific as always as the seemingly unflappable lead Don Draper, whose secrets and secretive behavior finally start to catch up with him. The equally brilliant cast includes January Jones, Elizabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Henricks, Aaron Staton, Michael Gladis, Rick Sommer, John Slattery and Robert Morse. Also, as with Seasons 1 and 2, the production values are superb, sumptuously recreating the fashions and sleek interior design that marked the Sixties. With commentaries, documentary, and featurettes. 13 episodes spread across 4 discs. 4 separate rentals. 2009.16x9 Widescreen. 611 minutes. Unrated.
Make Way for Tomorrow - Considered one of the most depressing movies ever made, this rarely seen drama is one of the few that reflected the Depression Era in a realistic way as it deals with a married couple whose life and marriage go awry when they try to move in with their grown children and find no one wants them. Ironically, it was directed by Leo McCarey who was more known for his carefree comedies (like The Awful Truth). Starring Victor Moore, Beulah Bondhi, Fay Bainter, Thomas Mitchell and Porter Hall. Black and white. 1937. 92 minutes. Unrated.
Men who Stare at Goats - George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Robert Patrick and Goat star in this outrageous true(!) comedy about a reporter who comes across a military leader who is purportedly creating a Special Ops unit for the U.S. government that uses psychic powers to stun the enemy. !!! You will probably either love of hate this outlandish farce directed by longtime Clooney associate/co-actor Grant Heslov (who also produced Good Night and Good Luck with Clooney). Clooney seems to be having a lot of fun playing the conservative, gung ho op. With commentaries, featurettes and deleted scenes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 94 minutes. R.
Monk: Season 8 - Multi-award winner Tony Shalhoub returns for one last season as the obesseive compulsive titular detective and he is as squirrely as ever alongside guests Elizabeth Perkins and Daniel Stern, among others. The fine supporting cast includes Traylor Howard as his patient assistant, Ted Levine as his exasperated boss, and Hector Elizondo as his psychiatrist. 16 epis spread across 4 discs. 4 seprate rentals. With commentary and featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen.
Phantom Punch - Ving Rhames stars as troubled boxing great Sonny Liston, who was a champion until a young boxer named Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali) beat him. This docudrama deals with Liston, warts and all. Co-starring Nick Turturro, Stacey Dash, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, and David Prova. Directed by Robert Townsend, who is more known for his comedies, like Hollywood Shuffle. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 104 minutes. R.
Prisoner, The [2009 Miniseries] - In 1968, Patrick McGoohan co-created and starred in one of the greatest TV series ever, The Prisoner, about a government spy who decides to resign and ends up as a prisoner in a bizarre village on a secluded and inescapable island populated by odd people. AMC decided to remake the 17 episode British show into a 6 hour miniseries. They cast Jim Caviezel (The Passion of Christ) as the hero only known as Number 6 and Ian McKellan as Number Two, the silky but evil overseer of the prison, and they oddly re-set the village in a desert (!). When it was aired late last year, it drew mostly mixed to negative reviews from both neophytes and fans of the original series, but you be the judge. Co-starring Hayley Atwell, Ruth Wilson and Lennie James. With commentary and featurettes. 6 episodes split across 3 discs. 3 separate rentals. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen.
Red Cliff Parts I & II: Original International Version - John Woo (The Killer and Face/Off) returned to China to direct this epic war film that depicts the end of the Han dynasty. The story deals with a Han Prime Minister turned General who decides to get rid of two troublesome warlords, but things go awry when the warlords team up to battle their mutual enemy. Starring Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi and a literal cast of thousands. Probably the most expensive film shot in China, the film is a dazzling triumph for Woo. The U.S. version was edited down to 148 minutes, but we are carrying the original uncut 288 minute version. 2 discs. In Mandarin with English subtitles. With featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 288 minutes. Unrated.
Seraphine - In this true story, Yolande Moreau gives a memorable performance as artist Seraphine Louis, a housekeeper who takes up painting in her spare time. However, her talent goes undiscovered until the German art critic (Ulrich Tukur) she works for as a maid, accidentally finds her work. Winner of 7 Cesar Awards (France's equivalent of the Oscar), including Best Picture and Best Actress. In French with English subtitles. With featurette and stills of her paintings. Directed by Martin Provost. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 125 minutes. Unrated.
Sita Sings the Blues - This offbeat and colorful animated feature is a visually dazzling mix of Indian folklore, humor, romance, and Indonesian shadow puppetry, using vintage 1920's songs by Annette Hanshaw as a good portion of its soundtrack. Comic strip artist Nina Paley took years to create this acclaimed musicomedy that intercuts between the story of Hindu goddess Sita's woes with her suspicious husband and Paley's own romantic problems with her husband. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 82 minutes. Unrated.
South Park: Season 13 - All 14 uncensored epis of Season 13 spread across 3 discs, 3 separate rentals. 2009. 308 minutes. Unrated.
Suicide Girls: Guide to Living - Various Suicide Girls from around the world gather in Las Vegas to discuss and flaunt their lifestyle. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 87 minutes. Unrated/adults only.
39 Steps  - This 2010 BBC version of the Alfred Hitchcock classic is supposed to be even better than the original. Rupert Penry-Jones stars as a man falsely accused of murder who has to break a German espionage ring to prove his innocence in this almost non-stop escape thriller. Also starring Lydia Leonard, Alex Jennings, David Haig, Patrick Malahide, and Eddie Marson. 2010. 16x9 Widescreen. 85 minutes. Unrated.
Twilight in Forks - This documentary explores the Washington town of Forks, the real town that author Stephanie Meyer used as the basis for the setting of her three Twilight books. Directed by Jason Brown. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 77 minutes.
Twilight Saga, The: New Moon - This second entry in the Twilight Saga series proved to be even more phenomenally successful than the first film (grossing almost $300 million to Twilight's $191 million). In this outing, the budding romance of vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart) takes a hit when Edward abruptly leaves out of fear that he and his biting lifestyle may endanger his love. The heartbroken Bella takes up with Indian friend and wolfboy Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who tries to protect her while putting the moves on her, and two gleefully evil vampires (wonderfully played by the incredibly versatile Michael Sheen and Dakota Fanning) make plans to put a stake in Edward & Bella's endless love...to be continued. Also starring Ashley Greene, Rachelle Leevre, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Frazer, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone, and Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick. 2 discs. With commentary, a 6-part documentary, rehearsal footage, and music videos. Directed by Chris Weitz. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 130 minutes. PG-13.
African Queen, The
Blind Side, The
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Mad Men: Season 3 - Spread across 3 Blu-rays. 3 separate rentals.
Red Cliff Parts 1 & 2: The Original International Version
Twilight Saga, The: New Moon
Descriptions written by manager Steven Y. Mori
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
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  - 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] - 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.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day - With featurettes not on the DVD.
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
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Barbie: A Mermaid Tale - Barbie plays a surfing champ teen who discovers she is actually a mermaid in this animated family film. Directed by Adam L. Wood. With music video and outtakes. 2010. 16x9 Widescreen. 75 minutes. Unrated.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day - In this sequel to the cult noir hit, the vigilante brothers are in hiding in Ireland but return to Boston to avenge the death of a beloved priest. You can expect a lot more bloodshed. Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery return as the brothers, and Billy Connolly plays their father. Troy Duffy, who directed the original and self-destructed after the first film became a hit on video, returns to helm this one. With deleted scenes, commentary and featurette. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 117 minutes. R.
Capitalism: A Love Story - Michael Moore (Roger & Me, Fahrenheit9/11) returns to his original documentary roots with this hilarious but naturally biting look at corporate America's stranglehold on U.S. society and regular people. The result is a potent mix of fun and anger. With many featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen.127 minutes. R.
Chanel Chanel - This fine documentary explores the fascinating life of fashion designer icon Coco Chanel and makes an interesting companion piece to the recent Coco Before Chanel. Starring designer Karl Lagerfeld. Directed by Eila Hershon and Roberto Gueria. 1986. Full screen. 70 minutes. Unrated.
Charles Bronson Collection [Telefon/St. Ives] - This enjoyable Bronson double feature includes Telefon, in which Bronson plays a U.S. agent who is assigned to stop Russian terrorists planted in the U.S. from doing horrific acts after being triggered by a phone call, and St. Ives, which stars Bronson as a crime writer who becomes a target when he runs afoul of a rich man. The former is a taut thriller with Lee Remick and Donald Pleasence and directed by noir director Donald Siegel. The latter is a witty mystery homage starring Jacqueline Bisset, John Houseman, Maximilian Schell, Daniel J. Travanti and Jeff Goldblum, and Bronson gets to go against type as a somewhat elegant hero for a change. Directed by J.Lee Thompson (The Guns of Navarone), this would mark his first of many collaborations with Bronson. With featurette on St. Ives. 2 films on one disc. 1977/1976. 16x9 Widescreen. PG.
Double Identity - Val Kilmer stars as a doctor who works for Doctors Without Borders,but when he visits Eastern Europe, he gets mistaken as a spy by Russian agents and soon finds himself dodging killers and bullets. This action thriller also stars Izabella Miko, Julian Wadham, Hristo Shopov, Michael Cronin, and Valentine Pelka. Directed by Dennis Dimster-Denk. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 93 minutes. R.
FlashForward: Season 1 Volume 1 - One of the more intriguing TV series plotlines has the entire world losing consciousness for a brief time, but during that period, they see events six months into the future. As the governement investigates, individuals try to decide whether to let the future stand or try to change it. The excellent cast for this thrilling one hour series includes Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Sonya Walger, Courtney B. Vance, and Dominic Monihan. Ten episodes on 2 separate disc rentals. See it before the March 18 premiere of the second half of the season. With featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 430 minutes. Unrated
Hachi: A Dog's Tale [aka Hachiko: A Dog's Story]- In this moving and heartbreaking true family story, Richard Gere stars as a professor who takes in a lost Akita dog, who becomes an integral part of his family. After a shocking family crisis, the dog named Hachi proves her devotion in an amazing way. Directed by the underrated Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat and My Life As a Dog), and please don't joke that Lasse likes dog films [he also directed My Life as a Dog]. Joan Allen also stars as Gere's wife. With featurette. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 93 minutes. G.
Hannah Montana: Miley Says Goodbye? - In this Season 3 finale, Hannah is at a crossroads: will she continue signing or will she return home to a more normal life? With Billy Ray Cyrus, David Archuleta, Cody Linley, Emily Osment, Jason Earles and Michael Musso. With alternate ending, bonus episode and featurette. 2010. Full screen. 135 minutes. Unrated.
Kiki's Delivery Service: Special Edition - Hayao Miyasaki's classic anime remastered with a new featurette. With English dubbed voices by Kirsten Dunst, Lewis Arquette, Corey Burton, John De Mita, and Fay DeWitt. 2 discs. In Japanese with English subtitles or dubbed. With featurettes. 16x9 Widescreen. 105 minutes.G.
L.A. Without a Map - Surprisingly not released on DVD in the US for 10 years, this delightful comedy stars David Tennant as a Scottish undertaker who falls for a hot American babe (Vinessa Shaw) and goes to L.A. to pursue her. When he arrives in the baffling region, he truly becomes a fish out of water and a funny one at that. Also starring Julie Delpy, Vincent Gallo, Cameron Bancroft, Joe Dallesandro, Saskia Reeves, Steve Huison, Lisa Edelstein and James Le Gros with a cameo by Johnny Depp. Directed by Mika Kaurismaki. With featurette and interviews. 1999. 16x9 Widescreen. 107 minutes. Unrated.
My Neighbor Totoro: Special Edition - The last of the current Hayao Miyasaki anime classics to be remastered to tie in with the release of Ponyo. Also with the same new featurette. 2 discs. In Japanese with English subtitles or dubbed. With featurettes. 1993. 16x9 Widescreen. 88 minutes. G.
Old Dogs - John Travolta and Robin Williams have a lot of fun as two bachelors who suddenly have to grow up when one of them discovers he has twins he didn't know existed. Williams is the father but his ex-love is ironically played by the very hot and funny Kelly Preston, Travolta's real-life wife. Although panned by critics, this goofy family comedy has its share of memorable and amusing moments, including a scary funny trip to a zoo with co-star Seth Green getting a little too up close and personal with a gorilla. Co-starring Ellen Bleu Travolta (Travolta's real life daughter), Lori Loughlin and Matt Dillon. Directed by Walt Becker, who also directed the rhyming Wild Hogs. With bloopers, deleted scenes and commentary. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 88 minutes. PG.
Parks and Recreation: Season 1 - Though the first season of this hit sitcom from the creators of The Office is uneven, it does set up the premise well. A group of inept local government officials and citizens try to turn a dirt field into a lush park. Amy Poehler stars as the clueless and somewhat tactless head of the project. Rashida Jones (Boston Public) and hot comic Aziz Ansari co-star. For those who don't like this season, hang in there. Season 2 is much better and funnier, having found its mojo enough to be renewed for even a third season. With commentary and deleted scenes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 157 minutes. Unrated.
Planet 51 - Sci-fi films are the satiric target again in this over-the-top animated satire, in which an astronaut lands on a planet filled with little green people. The twist is they think he's the alien and just the beginning of an alien invasion, unless he can get help from a friendly alien who can save him from the scared mob. Voices by Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Jessica Biel and Justin Long. Directed by Jorge Blanco. With extended scenes, music video and featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 91 minutes. PG.
Possession  - This little seen thriller stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Michael Landes as a happily married San Francisco couple who get along fine except when Landes' nasty brother (Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies and The Fall) shows up. After a bad car crash leaves both brothers in a coma, Pace is the only one to regain consciousness, only he doesn't seem to be his surly self - he appears to be possessed by his much nicer brother, throwing Gellar's life into a tailspin. Directed by Joel Bergvall & Simon Sandquist. With featurette, deleted scenes and alternate ending. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 85 minutes. PG-13.
Precious - Fresh off winning two Oscars for Best Supporting Actress (Mo'Nique) and Best Adapted Screenplay, this intense drama focuses on an abused, overweight and pregnant black urban teenager named Precious,who tries to break out of her hell with the help of an alternative-school teacher. Newcomer Gabourey Sibide (also nominated for Best Actress) is excellent in the title role, but Mo'Nique's incredible turn as Precious' abusive mother steals the movie (remember Shelley Winters as Elizabeth Hartman's brutal mom in A Patch of Blue - this will bring back memories). Co-starring Paula Patton, Lenny Kravitz and a de-glammed Mariah Carey in excellent supporting roles. Lee Daniels (who did the terrific Monster's Ball) directed and was also Oscar nominated. With commentary, featurettes, deleted scene, audition and more. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 109 minutes. R.
Sarah Silverman Program, The: Season 2 Volume 2 - This set completes the second season of the twisted sitcom showcasing comedian Sarah Silverman's offbeat talents. 10 episodes spread over 2 discs. 2 separate rentals. 2009. Full Screen. Unrated.
Stoning of Soraya M., The - Jim Caviezel stars as a French reporter whose car breaks down in a small Iranian town and meets a woman (Shorheh Agdashloo) who reveals a tragic story about a kind young woman who is falsely accused of infidelity by her husband and pays a violent price. Based on a true story, this intense and disturbing drama takes place in the mid-eighties. Mozhan Marno is moving as the beautiful young wife. Directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh. With commentary and featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. R.
Up in the Air - This critically acclaimed dramedy appeared on over 200 Top Ten Lists and earned several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Actress (Vera Farmiga), and Best Supporting ACtress (Anna Kendrick). Clooney is perfectly cast as an exec who specializes in downsizing and spends most of his time at airports between planes. He's always glibly on the move until he meets a woman who may be his soul mate (Farmiga). Unfortunately and ironically, his own company downsizes and may cut his flying time, creating an emotional dilemma. Also starring Jason Bateman. Directed by Jason Reitman [Juno] With deleted scenes, and commentary. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 109 minutes. R.
You the Living - This oddball dramedy is basically a series of darkly comic vignettes that follow a number of characters who struggle with the frustrations of everyday life and existence. Kind of a love it or hate it type of surreal flick. Directed by Roy Anderson. In Swedish with English subtitles. With commentary and featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 95 minutes. Unrated.
Coco Before Chanel
Up in the Air
Descriptions written by manager Steven Y. Mori
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
$9.99 - In this quirky stop-motion animated R-rated comedy, a young jobless man who lives with his family is searching for the meaning of life, and he thinks he finds just that in a book that he buys for $9.99. An Israeli-Australia co-production with a voice cast that stars Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Samuel Johnson, Claudia Karvan, Joel Edgerton and Barry Otto. Directed by Tatia Rosenthal. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 78 minutes. R.
Bitch Slap - As the title would suggest, this is an all-out sexploitation action flick mostly aimed at male audiences, but this film is a cut above the bormal B flick since the filmmakers are Rick Jacobson and Eric Gruendemann, who worked on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. The story has 3 busty babes - a stripper, an assassin, and a businesswoman fighting a vicious bad guy and each other to see who can kill him first, and it's supposed to be an enjoyably bloody and funny romp. Starring Julia Voth, Erin Cummings, America Olino, Ron Melendez, William Gregory Lee, Minae Noji, Michael Hurst, Lucy Lawless, Kevin Sorbo and Renee O'Connor. . Directed by Rick Jacobsen. With commentary and documentary. 2010. 16x9 Widescreen. 109 minutes. Unrated.
Bollywood Hero - Comedy actor Chris Kattan has finally redeemed himself in his career outside Saturday Night Live with his amusing appearances on ABC's hit sitcom The Middle and with this genuinely funny IFC miniseries. Kattan finally gets to fully display his talent as a Hollywood actor who decides to stretch and take a starring role in a Mumbai produced film called Pecuiliar Dancing Boy. He gets much more than he bargained for as a fish out of water, learning how to deal with a different culture and absorbing many life lessons along the way. Co-starring Maya Rudolph, Julian Sands, Pooja Kumar, Rachna Shah, Ali Fazal , Neha Dhupia, Jennifer Coolidge, David Alan Grier and Keanu Reeves. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 180 minutes. Unrated.
Castle in the Sky: Special Edition - Disney re-release of the Hayao Miyazaki animated classic also known as Laputa. Remastered plus including a new featurette. Voice actors include Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, and Mark Hamill. In Japanese with English subtitles or English dubbed. Directed by Hayao Miyasaki. With featurettes. 1986. 125 minutes. PG.
Cold Souls - Paul Giamatti basically stars as himself but in an alternate world where people buy and exchange souls. In this wild cult comedy, Giamatti stresses out over taking the role of Uncle Vanya so he temporarily removes his soul in exchange for a Russian actress. However, getting his soul back in its right place is an entirely different matter. David Strathairn, Dina Korzun, Kathryn Winnick, Lauren Ambrose, and Emily Watson also star. Directed by Sophie Barthes. With deleted scenes and featurette. 2009. 101 minutes. PG-13.
Gentlemen Broncos - The director of Napoleon Dynamite returns with another wacky cult comedy. Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement stars as a sci-fi writer who steals the idea for his next book from a fan played by Michael Angarano. Also featuring Jennifer Coolidge, Mike White, Hector Jimenez, and Sam Rockwell. Directed by Jared Hess. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 89 Minutes. PG-13.
Lola Montes - Martine Carol is mesmerizing as the beautiful and notorious true-life circus performer, whose romances were more colorful than her performances. Peter Ustinov, Anton Walbrook and Oskar Werner co-star. This was director Max Ophuls' last completed film, and it is primarily known for its striking use of set design and rich color and for his controversial choice of a heroine or anti-heroine. With 2 discs, commentary, documentary and TV excerpt. 1955. 16x9 Widescreen. 114 minutes.
Motherhood - Lately, beautiful and talented Uma Thurman seems to be taking very strange roles in oddball comedies, and this is no exception. Playing down her stunning looks, she plays a multi-tasking suburban mom who has to prepare for her daughter's sixth birthday party and has a daunting list of things to do that may push her over the edge. Also starring Anthony Edwards and Minnie Driver. Directed by Katherine Dieckmann. With commentary and interviews. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 94 minutes. PG-13.
Penthouse, The  - Three guys who want to establish a bachelor pad run into several road blocks when one of the guys' girlfriends wants to get serious in this farce that overflows with relationship & sexual complications.. The very attractive and better than average cast includes Rider Strong, Corey Large, April Scott, Kaley Cuoco, Mya, Kurupt, Ed Begley, Jr.,and Lin Shaye. Directed by Chris Levitus. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 89 minutes. R
Ponyo - Acclaimed Japanese anime director Hayao Miyasaki (Howl's Moving Castle) directed this unusual adaptation of The Little Mermaid. In this beautiful version set in a modern Japanese fishing village, a 5 year old boy falls in love with a goldfish princess named Ponyo, who wants to become human. The voice talent includes Cate Blanchett, Noah Cyrus, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Frankie Jonas, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, and Betty White. In Japanese with English subtitles or English dubbed. With featurettes. 103 minutes. G.
Private Lives of Pippa Lee, The - In this little seen but well-reviewed dramedy, a seemingly bored middle-aged housewife (Robin Wright) with an ideal marriage has her life turned upside down when her much older husband (Alan Arkin) announces that he wants them to move to a retirement home. Not only is she not ready to retire, but she also has a satisfying private life of her own that is jeopardized. Maria Bello, Monica Bellucci, Blake Lively, Julianne Moore, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Tim Guinee, Mike Binder, and Shirley Knight also star. Directed by Rebecca Miller. With commentary and interviews. 2009. 98 minutes. R.
Vanished Empire, The - A teenage boy comes age in Russia during the volatile 1970's in this acclaimed drama. Starring Alexander Lyapin, Lidia Milyuzina, Ivan Kupreyenko, Egor Baranovsky, and Yanina Kalganova. Directed by Karen Shakhnazarov. In Russian with English subtitles. 2008. 16x9 Widescreen. 104 minutes. Unrated.
Where the Wild Things Are  - Reviews and box office were mostly kind to this big screen/big budget adaptation of Maurice Sendak's children's classic, but there was some controversy over cult director Spike Jonze's vision of Sendak's world. However, the criticism seems like an over-reaction since everyone virtually has their own idea of what Sendak's world should look like. The story deals with a young boy named Max, who is sent to bed by his parents for misbehaving. While asleep, he conjures up a unique world where weird and wild creatures are his friends and make him their king. No matter what critics may think of the film, it definitely has a unique look thanks to Jonze's vision (remember he also directed the stunning cult fantasy Being John Malkovitch). Starring Max Records, Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, James Gandolfini,Catherine O'Hara, and Forest Whitaker. With featurettes. 2009. 16x9 Widescreen. 101 minutes. PG.
2012 - With featurettes only available on Blu-ray. 1080p.
Boondock Saints - Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus star as Irish brothers who become vigilantes, ridding the world of bad men, in this visual tour de force. Willem Dafoe, Billy Connolly, and Troy Duffy also star in this noir cult favorite. Directed by Troy Duffy. With commentary, deleted scenes and featurette. 1999. 16x9 Widescreen. 1080p. 110 minutes. R.
Lola Montes - Same features as the DVD but on 1 Blu-ray in 1080p.
Two Girls and a Guy - Robert Downey, Jr. is brilliant in this underrated dramedy directed by cult director James Toback [Fingers, Black+White]. Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner star as two beautiful women who discover that they have the same boyfriend (Downey) when they show up at his apartment at the same time. When Downey arrives, the women ambush him and perform an impromptu intervention, eventually unintentionally making him decide between the two. With an emphasis on Cassavetes style improv, Toback.skillfully lets Downey riff, revealing himself as a broken and flawed artist and man who hides behind his charismatic bravado and skill as a bullshit artist. Graham and Wagner are equally up to the challenge with Graham especially fine as the nurturing sexpot and Wagner adorable as the ditzy charmer. Although the film is somewhat flawed, it is definitely worth watching for the three stellar star performances that keep the film afloat as the story swings back and forth from funny to maddening to tragic to moving. This Blu-ray also features the uncut graphic NC-17 version (featuring a very steamy and possibly real sex scene), which was released on VHS but never available on DVD. With commentary, featurette and both NC-17 and R versions. 1998. 16x9 Widescreen. 84 minutes. R and NC-17.
Wnere the Wild Things Are  - With featurettes only available on Blu-ray.
Descriptions written by manager Steven Y. Mori