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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Friday-Saturday, 12pm-9pm


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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012

Blu-rays:


John Carter [Although the box office was somewhat disappointing for this lavish 2012 sci-fi/fantasy epic (that reportedly cost $250 million to make!), the movie is surprisingly good, even great mostly. Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' beloved book Princess of Mars, it is easy to see how it was way ahead of its time and why it influenced dozens of blockbuster series, like Star Wars, Star Trek, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Dune, and many more. Taylor Kitsch (the hunk from TV's Friday Night Lights) is a real find in the title role playing an ex-Confederate captain who has become a greedy gold miner after the war. When the military forces him to help fight the Indians, he flees and accidentally stumbles open a device that transports him to another world. He soon discovers that he is on another planet, Mars in fact, filled with weird looking aliens who seem to be at war with two human colonies. The aliens take him prisoner along with a stunning human beauty (wonderfully played by Lynn Collins) who turns out to be the Princess of Mars from the good colony. As they struggle to survive, she convinces him to help her battle the evil human faction and enlist the aliens to help restore order to the red planet. Of course, he falls in love along the way. The terrific CGI special effects and action set pieces keep the movie moving at a breakneck pace and overall look amazing, but this would mean nothing if it weren't for Kitsch's charismatic performance, skillfully mixing macho heroics, humor,  and a nice touch of cynicism. Collins is a perfect match for him as the alluring warrior princess, and Dominic West (TV's The Wire) makes a unforgettable villain teamed with mystical baddie Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church and Samantha Morton are also memorable as the voices of the aliens. Ciaran Hinds, Bryan Cranston and James Purefoy also star. Animation director Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo, Wall-E) does a great job of keeping the plot moving while creating depth of character and a sense of pure fun. The thrilling musical score by Michael Giacchino (Up, Mission:Impossible: Ghost Protocl) is one of the best of the year so far and one of the best of any big action film from the last several years. If Cowboys and Aliens left you disappointed, I think you'll find this a much better and much more enjoyable sci-fi action experience. Highly recommended!]    


Journey 2: The Mysterious Island [Dwayne Johnson takes over for Brendan Fraser as the hero in this big budget 2012 sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth. Josh Hutcherson returns as the adventurous teen from the first film and is determined to answer an SOS from a mysterious island in this much changed version of Jules Verne's Mysterious Island. Johnson plays his muscular new stepfather who decides to supervise him on the trip since he can't dissuade him from going, and his beautiful daughter (Vanessa Hudgens) and copter pilot Luis Guzman tag along as they encounter many weird creatures (i.e., huge bees) while trying to find the source of the signal. The dazzling special effects are the real star of the show, but thankfully Michael Caine shows up for adult viewers in this sci-fi action family flick that is mainly aimed at kids and teens.]   

DVDs:

Arn: The Complete Series [In this foreign TV series, Arn Magnusson, a skilled swordsman, is sent off to war as a Knight Templar as a penance for his sins. Separated from his true love by a jealous nobleman, he must fight to survive. Starring Joakim Natterqvist, Stellan Skarsgard, Sofia Helin, Simon Callow, Vincent Perez, and Bibi Andersson.]

Breaking Bad: Season 4 [Bryan Cranston returns for another wild, darkly funny and intense season as the ex-teacher turned meth dealer kingpin in this cult TV show.]

Burn Notice: Season 5 [This season, ex-CIA agent Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) finally gets reinstated only to be framed for murder and blackmailed, forcing him to hunt yet another new nemesis! Also starring returning cast members Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar, and Sharon Gless. 2011.]

Cash [2008][Jean Dujardin (OSS 117, Best Actor winner for The Arttst) is charming as always but with a dark side in this thriller about a conman who decides to get revenge on the men who killed his brother but without the use of a gun. Jean Reno,  Valeria Golino, Alice Taglioni, Francois Berleand, Caroline Proust, Jocelyn Quivrin and Ciaran Hinds also star.]


Doc Martin: Season 5 [Martin Clunes returns in this British TV series as the irascible and endearingly awkward title doc who has to stay in scenic Portwenn with Louisa and his new son although he would rather leave for London and a new job.  Starring Caroline Catz, Ian McNeice and Eileen Atkins. 2012.]

Entourage: Season 8 [The popular HBO TV series about an A list movie star and his entourage of old pals, wannabes and agents comes to a close with this great if short season that wraps things up but leaves enough loose ends for an upcoming feature film. Starring Kevin Connolly, Adrian Grenier, Kevin Dillon,  Jerry Ferrara, Perrey Reeves, Rex lee, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Scott Caan, and Jeremy Piven. Guests include Ileana Douglas, Debi Mazar, Andrew Dice Clay, Christian Slater, Mark Cuban, Bobby Flay, Melinda Clarke, David Spade, Malcolm McDowell and Miguel Sandoval.]

Garbo the Spy [Directed by Edmond Roch, this fascinating documentary is about a WWII spy named Garbo by the Allies and Alaric by the Nazis. He worked both sides from his base in Lisbon, but he was true to the Allies and saved thousands of lives by feeding bad intel to Germany, including false leads about D-Day. 2009.]

House of Pleasures [Hafsia Herzi, Celine Sallette, Jasmine Trinca, Adele Haenel, Alice Barnole, Iliana Zabeth, and Noemie Lvosky star in this eroric French drama about a turn of the century brothel and the beautiful and diverse women who work there and bond with each other. Directed by Bertrand Bonello. 2010.]

John Carter

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Little Bit of Heaven, A [Adorable Kate Hudson once again plays the funny and beautiful heroine who is afraid to commit to a guy until she meets sexy doctor Gael Garcia Bernal in this romantic comedy. Co-starring Rosemary DeWitt, Lucy Punch, Romany Malco, Treat Williams, Peter Dinklage, Whoopi Goldberg and Kathy Bates. Directed by Nicole Kassell. 2010.]

Miss Minoes [Charming Dutch family comedy starring sexy CariceVan Houten (The Black Book) as a cat who is magically transformed into a beautiful woman who befriends shy reporter Theo Massen. She still appears as a cat to her fellow felines and recruits them as news gatherers to help Massen get unique stories. Sarah Bannier,  Pierre Bokma, and Marisa Van Eyle co-star. Directed by Vincent Baz.]

Monsenor: The Last Journey of Oscar Romero [Moving documentary about the Archbishop of El Salvador, who spoke up for the poor against oppression and social injustice until he was assassinated 3 years later. Directed by Ana Carrigan and Juliet Weber. 2011.]

Necessary Death, A [This shocking mockumentary has disturbed and polarized audiences around the world as it deals with a documentary filmmaker who decides to document a suicide from start to grisly finish. Shot documentary style on videotape by director Daniel Stamm, the ultra-real replication and the use of a largely unknown cast has lead people to believe that it is a true story although it is fiction, bringing back memories of the Snuff controversy from the late seventies. Starring G.J. Echternkamp, Matthew Tilley, Valerie Hurt, Michael Traynor,  and Konima Parkinson Jones.]

Neshoba: The Price of Freedom [Disturbing documentary about the infamous 1964 incident in which 3 civil rights workers (Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Henry Schwerner) went missing in Mississippi but were murdered by Klansmen. It took 40 years for the state to indict Edgar Ray Killen, an 80 year old Baptist preacher and blatant racist. Directed by Micki Dickoff and Tony Pagano. 2010.]
 
Scandal: Season 1 [Kerry Washington stars in this stylish ABC TV series about a confident beauty who leads an elite team of Washington D.C. crisis managers. Unfortunately, some cracks start to show in the personal lives of the scandal handlers. Can they manage their own crisis? 2012.]

Thin Ice [Dark comedy in which desperate insurance agent Greg Kinnear hatches a con that goes out of control thanks to unstable locksmith Billy Crudup. Starring Alan Arkin, David Harbour, Michelle Arthur, Lea Thompson, and Bob Balaban. Directed by Jill Sprecher.]

Too Big to Fail [William Hurt leads a brilliant and amazing cast (Edward Asner, Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Topher Grace, Cynthia Nixon, Bill Pullman, Tony Shalhoub and James Woods) in this surprisingly gripping 2011 HBO thriller about the causes of the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, The Wonder Boys) directed this excellent docudrama.]

Recent/New Arrivals:

13 Assassins [1963][This is the action-packed original classic about 13 samurai assassins who go on a suicide mission to kill an out-of-control warlord that was remade in 2010. Starring Chiezo Kataoka, Koutaro Satomi, Kanjyuro Arashi, Ko Nishimura, and Ryobei Uchida. Directed by Eiichi Kudo.]

Harold and Maude [The darkly hilarious 1971 cult comedy starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort as an offbeat May-December romantic couple who meet at a funeral gets The Criterion Collection treatment. Cort is unforgettable as a Charles Addamsish teen who is obsessed with death and suicide until he meets his match in Gordon, who is wonderful as a vivacious and unrepentant 80 year old. Vivian Pickles, Ellen Geer and Charles Tyner co-star, and Cat Stevens provides the great songs on the soundtrack.  Hal Ashby (Bound for Glory, The Last Detail) directed this classic entirely in the San Francisco Bay Area.] 

Nothing Sacred [William A. Wellman directed this wild and wacky screwball romance starring Carole Lombard as a potential radium victim who is exploited by reporter Fredric March until he realizes he loves her. Charles Winninger, Walter Connolly, Margaret Hamilton, and Hattie McDaniel also star in this 1937 classic that was one of the earliest to use the three strip Technicolor process.]

Phase IV [1974][This chilling and brilliant sci-fi thriller is about a team of scientists studying intelligent ants that have started targeting humans for death. It was the only feature film directed by main title designer/genius Saul Bass (The Man with the Golden Arm, Psycho) and is as visually beautiful as it is creepy. Nigel Davenport, Michael Murphy and Lynne Frederick star.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

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