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.

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


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

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

New Releases - March 6, 2012

Barbie in A Mermaid Tale 2 [Barbie returns in this 2012 feature length sequel to A Mermaid Tale. 74 minutes.]

Commisario Brunetti Episodes 1-4 [Donna Leon's best-selling crime novels get a great German TV adaptation in which Commissario Brunetti solves murders in beautiful Venice. Joachim Krol stars as Brunetti and Barbara Auer, Michael Degen, and Karl Fischer co-star. We have episodes 1-4 as separate feature length rentals. In German with English subtitles. Another cross-country oddity like the terrific British crime TV series Zen, which is about Italian detectives but is made by British actors and crews. 2011.] 

Dead, The [Howard and Jonathan Ford directed this refreshing new spin on the seemingly endless zombie genre (it's ironic that the genre itself has become like a zombie, feeding off the celluloid of other zombie flicks). Rob Freeman stars as a US military engineer who crashes in the South African desert while trying to escape a virus outbreak in which the dead come back to life. Of course, he has to run for his life from the undead killers. Prince David Osei also stars. Made in 2010 but released in 2012.]

Footloose [Kenny Wormald is charismatic as the lead in this surprisingly effective reboot of the 1984 dance classic in which a teen (Kevin Bacon played him in the original) moves from the big city to an ultra-conservative Midwest town that has banned dancing to rock. Of course, our hero does not like that and starts a not so underground campaign to overturn the ban.  It's interesting to see Dennis Quaid play the minister behind the ban, since it's easy to see him playing the hero part in his younger, hearthrob days. Dancing with the Stars' Julianne Hough is great as the minister's sexy daughter who supports Wormald's revolution. Andie MacDowell also stars. This 2011 hit was directed by Craig Brwer.]

Game of Thrones, The: Season 1 [George R.R. Martin's best selling tome A Song of Fire and Ice provides the basis for this sumptuous and rousing HBO series about the struggle for power of a fantasy kingdom after the death of the king. Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Harry Lloyd, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, and Stargate Atlantis' Jason Momoa star in this award-winning series.]

Immortals [The producers of 300 made this 2011 action fantasy so you know what to expect: plentiful R-rated spraying bloodshed, buff guys running around in skimpy costumes with swords flashing and hot, toga-clad babes on the sidelines cheerleading. Mickey Rourke, the king of crazy, is perfectly cast as a mad king who wants to get his hands on the ultimate weapon that will create a war between heaven and earth even if it destroys everything and everone. Henry Cavill plays the hunky hero who enlists as many warriors as he can and a sexy oracle to defeat the villain before he can complete his evil plan. This exciting hit film also stars Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, Isabel Lucas, Freida Pinto, and John Hurt. Directed by Tarsem Singh Dhandwar.]  


Jack and Jill [Adam Sandler must have an angel on his shoulder, because no matter how silly or bad one of his films occasionally is (as opposed to the many good films he does make, like Anger Management, Just Go for It, Punch Drunk Love, etc.), he always lands on his feet. This film is no exception, despite being lambasted by critics and fans alike (although Dr. Phil liked it - self help guru, please self-help youself) it grossed $74 mill in the US alone. Sandler plays a dual role in this ultra-silly farce about an ad exec who dreads his annual holiday visit from his annoying twin sister. Unfortunately, this year is even worse since she decides to stay longer, creating havoc.  Katie Holmes plays his far too patient and beautiful wife and Al Pacino (what's he doing in this!) plays himself. Ex-SNL stars David Spade, Tim Meadows and Norm Macdonald also appear.  Directed by Dennis Dugan, this may only appeal to die hard Sandler fans and probably won't win any awards. Wait a minute, it is nominated for a whopping 10 Razzie Awards coming April 1st, including Sandler for Worst Actor and Actress and Al Pacino for Worst Supporting Actor. It's got to be bad when  you are nominated for playing yourself! Well...maybe it's so bad it's funny.]

London River [Brenda Blythen and Sotigui Kouyate star as a British mother and Muslim father respectively who bond on July 7th, 2005 while searching for their missing kids during the infamous London terrorist bombings. Rachid Bouchareb directed this intense 2009 drama.]

Midsomer Murders: Set 19 [John Nettles and Jason Hughes return as the detectives in this tongue-in-cheek and incredibly popular British TV crime series solving bizarre murders in a seemingly quaint and peaceful English village. At this rate, there won't be anyobody left in town by the time the series ends! James Wilby, Janet Suzman, Saskia Reeves, Kenneth Cranham, Tim McInnerny, David Rintoul, and Neil Dudgeon guest star. 2010.]

Senna [Fascinating Asif Kapadia documentary about the professional and private life of Formula One racing great Ayrton Senna  who died far too young. 2011.]

Skin I Live In, The [Antonio Banderas reunited with director Pedro Almodovar for the first time in years in this fascinating return to the over-the-top cult genre that made both of them stars in films like Matador and Law of Desire. In this creepy horror noir thriller (that evokes memories of the great Franju cult classic Eyes without a Face), Banderas plays a plastic surgeon who tries to save his wife after a terrible car accident. He fails and spends years trying to develop a skin that can replace damaged skin after catastrophic accidents. When tragedy strikes again, he finds a new subject to experiment on, but will it work this time or create more trauma? Also starring Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet and Roberto Alamo. 2011.

Wind Journeys, The [In this Colombian drama by Ciro Guerra, a man decides to return the accordion he has been playing to its rightful owner. The problem is he has to trek across the desert to do it and a boy who wants to learn to play the instrumanet joins him for this weird road trip. Beautiful but slowly paced.  Film Movement. 2010.]

World on a Wire [Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 1973 German TV cult sci-fi epic starring Klaus Lowitsch finally gets a DVD release from The Criterion Collection. Lowitsch plays a cybernetics engineer who discovers a futuristic corporate conspiracy that may eliminate virtual reality.]

You Don't Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story [San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi follows up his solid film documentary The Slanted Screen with this excellent look at ground-breaking Japanese-American comic-actor Jack Soo. Born Goro Suzuki, he changed his name to Soo to avert anti-Japanese prejudice after WWII and became a popular stand-up comic and later a Broadway star in Gene Kelly's stage version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Flower Drum Song and the subsequent movie. He also broke new ground by becoming the first Asian-American TV co-star on 1963's Valentine's Day, headlined by Anthony Franciosa. He later became one of the ensemble stars in TV's Barney Miller before his untimely death.  He also had a fine singing voice and was surprisingly the first non-African-American to be signed to a recording contract with Motown Records. Nancy Kwan, George Takei, writer C.Y. Lee, Steve Landesberg and Max Gail are among the interviewees. This is the much better uncut version that was not shown on PBS.]

Blu-ray:

Immortals


Skin I Live In. The

Recent/New Arrivals:

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence [Steven Spielberg directed this fascinating if appropriately cold sci-fi thriller about a humanoid child who has trouble assimilating with his adoptive parents and a future world where even he feels out of place. Hayley Joel Osment is excellent as the troubled lead, and Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, and Sam Robards also star. Spielberg adapted Stanley Kubrick's final screenplay that Kubrick was working on at the time of his death in tribute to one of his mentors. 2001.  Letterbox version back in stock.]

Akira Kurosawa'a Dreams [Japanese master Akira Kurosawa directed this lovely, colorful  mosaic that brings his most vivid personal dreams to life on film. Martin Scorsese plays Van Gogh in one of the dreams. 1990. Back in stock.]

Bride Wore Black, The [Francois Truffaut directed this striking 1968 classic noir thriller starring Jeanne Moreau as a lethal black widow. The film inspired Quentin Tarantino's fun Kill Bill thrillers and has a terrific Bernard Herrmann music score. Back in stock.]

Othello [Oliver Parker's 1995 version of the Shakespeare classic is considered one of the best if not the best version of the play about deception, jealousy and rage. Laurence Fishburne, Irene Jacob and Kenneth Branagh give brilliant performances as the triangle of Othello, Desdemona and Iago. A must for Shakespeare fans. Back in stock.]

Tumbleweeds  [British actress Janet McTeer gives a great performance as a single Southern mother who wanders from town to town, gaining boyfriends and then discarding them after the relationship sours.  Kimberly J. Brown is also excellent as her daughter in this fine 1999 drama directed by Gavin O'Connor. McTeer earned a well-deserved Best Actress nomination here and also recently a Best Supporting Actress nom for Albert Nobbs. Back in stock.]  

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

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