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


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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Releases - August 27, 2013

Blu-rays:

Great Gatsby, The [2013]: Special Edition [Visually dazzling and dizzying new version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel about troubled Jazz Age millionaire Gatsby (well-played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who befriends poor writer/neighbor Nick Carroway (Tobey Maguire) in order to reunite with Nick's cousin Daisy (beautiful Carey Mulligan), who was his one true love and us now unhappily married. With stylish Baz Luhrmann  (Moulin Rouge, Romeo+Juliet) directing, you can expect eye-popping, eye candy visuals and immaculate attention to detail. You can also expect a possible headache with his ever-moving camera and music video style cuts, but this is where home video has an advantage over going to the theater: you can always pause the movie or stop it and take a break if you feel queasy. The lavish production received mostly very good to mixed reviews with the cast getting good notices (including co-stars Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher). However, most fans of the book tend to prefer the 1974 version with Robert Redford, Mia Farrow and Sam Waterston. Still, some of the performances and technical accomplishments are bound to be remembered when Oscar time rolls around next year. Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 142 minutes.]

Kon-tiki [2012] [Joachim Ronning directed this exciting Norwegian docudrama recreation of the famous and strenuous 1947 voyage that Thor Heyerdahl took to prove that the South Americans could have been the first to colonize the Polynesian Islands. He and five men set off on a small raft for their epic 101 day journey. This was nominated for a 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Starring Pal Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, Gustaf Skarsgard and Jakob Oftebro. 2012. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes.]

Lawrence of Arabia [Peter O'Toole gives a career-making performance as the title character, T.E. Lawrence, the enigmatic and troubled British officer who united various Arab tribes against the Turks during WWII. One of the greatest and most beautiful film epics ever made, this controversial bio looks like it was made to show off widescreen HDTVs. The film understandably won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director (David Lean), musical score (Maurice Jarre), and 4 others. The superb cast includes Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, and Arthur Kennedy. Omar Sharif also made a stunning impression in his first showy part (a role that would lead to his playing the title role in Lean's next epic: Doctor Zhivago).  However, it is O'Toole's multi-faceted and charismatic portrayal of Lawrence that dominates the film: at turns, charming, petulant, neurotic, diplomatic, sadistic, and egotistical. Highly Recommended!  1962. Rated PG. 227 minutes.]

Pain & Gain [As a director, Michael Bay has been all over the map. He's given us ballbusting great action epics The Rock and Armageddon, jaw-dropping machines vs. man sci-fi action in the Transformers series, mind-boggling sci-fi in The Island, violent buddy cop action comedies in Bad Boys 1 and 2, and both a chick flick and guy flick version of WWII in his yin/yang Pearl Harbor. Love him or hate him, you have to admit he always delivers edge-of-the-seat stylish action, over-the-top craziness, and also puts every dollar of his budget up there on the big screen. This movie is something of a return to the dark comedy buddy formula he used in Bad Boys, but instead of stressed out cops, we get financially challenged body builders Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson going forward with a nutty scheme to rob snooty businessman Tony Shalhoub.  Their plan succeeds, but when the victim hires P.I. Ed Harris to get his money back, all hell breaks loose as the robbers become the hunted, leading to plenty of chases and fireworks.  Although some critics carped about Bay and the screenwriters making the real life story cartoonish and dumbed down, let's face it, the real-life body-builders were not exactly rocket scientists, and come on, this is a Michael Bay movie - we need our quota of mindless violence and loud explosions. At least there are no humongous robots in this one...at least not until the next Transformers blockbuster. 2013. Rated R. 129 minutes.]

Reluctant Fundamentalist, The [In this complex political drama/thriller, Riz Ahmed plays a popular young Pakistani professor who becomes a person of interest for the CIA when an American academic is kidnapped in Pakistan. However, an American correspondent interviews him and discovers that he has had a fascinating life that includes being a Wall Street broker and having an American lover. Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Kama Sutra) directed and Kate Hudson, Live Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland and Shabana Azmi also star. 2012. Rated R. 130 minutes.]

DVDs:

33 Postcards [Intriguing little-seen Australian-Chinese drama about a 16 year old Chinese orphan girl who has never met her Australian benefactor Guy Pearce. When she travels to Australia for a choir festival, she meets Pearce and finds that his life is hardly idyllic as he wrote in the postcards he has been sending her. After their awkward introduction, they soon discover that they have more in common than they initially thought. Zhu Lin, Claudia Karvan, Elaine Jin, Rhys Muldoon and Lincoln Lewis also star. Directed by Pauline Chan. 2013. Unrated. 97 minutes.]

At Any Price [In this drama, Dennis Quaid stars as an ambitious farmer who wants to expand his family business with son Zac Efron, but Efron wants to be a race car driver. When an investigation exposes their business, they find their lives turned upside down and discover that family is everything. Co-starring Kim Dickens, Heather Graham and Clancy Brown. Directed by Ramin Bahrani. 2013. Rated R. 105 minutes.]

Barbie: Mariposa & the Fairy Princess [Mariposa returns and is named Ambassador of Flutterfield and and is sent to bring peace to her land and their rivals.  Voices by Kelly Sheridan, Maryke Hendrikse, Tabitha St. German, and Kathleen Barr. Directed by William Lau. 2013. Unrated. 80 minutes.]

Elementary: Season 1 [In this surprisingly effective and fun update of the Sherlock Holmes legend, Jonny Lee Miller is terrific as an even quirkier and much edgier version of the super sleuth as the ex-addict shows up in NYC and helps detective pal Aidan Quinn (an adaptation of the Inspector Lestrade character) solve baffling murder cases. Lucy Liu is equally superb and delightful as Dr. Joan Watson, Sherlock's addiction watcher, who soon discovers that she really enjoys helping Holmes' sleuthing in spite of his annoying OCD habits. Although everyone I know was skeptical about this show before it premiered, it has turned out to be the highest rated new show from the 2012 season and one of the most pleasant and welcome surprises of the year. The clever writing and plotting, character sex switches and the chemistry between Miller and Liu all make this show addictively watchable. Miller is at his best here (even better than he was on Eli Stone) as he imbues his Holmes with insufferable hubris and yet allows him occasional moving moments of empathy and remorse that humanizes him. Even Liu has never been better, and the cockeyed stunt of making Dr. Watson a woman actually works both story-wise and in the context of the 21st century period.  The guest cast also features great turns by familiar faces like John Hannah (as one of Holmes' fellow addicts), Roger Rees, Brian Kerwin, David Harbour, Vinnie Jones, Lisa Edelstein, and many more.  And wait until you meet Moriarty!  This makes a fascinating contrast to the equally fine British update with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.  Highly recommended!  2012. Unrated. 6 separate rentals.]

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners [Gripping documentary about the historical incidents that created an international movement to free activist Angela Davis after her social justice activism lands her on the FBI's most wanted list. Directed by Shola Lynch. 2013. Unrated. 101 minutes.]  

Great Gatsby, The [2013]: Special Edition [Visually dazzling and dizzying new version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel about troubled Jazz Age millionaire Gatsby (well-played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who befriends poor writer/neighbor Nick Carroway (Tobey Maguire) in order to reunite with Nick's cousin Daisy (beautiful Carey Mulligan), who was his one true love and us now unhappily married. With stylish Baz Luhrmann  (Moulin Rouge, Romeo+Juliet) directing, you can expect eye-popping, eye candy visuals and immaculate attention to detail. You can also expect a possible headache with his ever-moving camera and music video style cuts, but this is where home video has an advantage over going to the theater: you can always pause the movie or stop it and take a break if you feel queasy. The lavish production received mostly very good to mixed reviews with the cast getting good notices (including co-stars Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher). However, most fans of the book tend to prefer the 1974 version with Robert Redford, Mia Farrow and Sam Waterston. Still, some of the performances and technical accomplishments are bound to be remembered when Oscar time rolls around next year. Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 142 minutes.]

Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp [The title says it all in this documentary that interviews friends and foes of the notorious pimp who went on to write seven books. Featuring Chris Rock, Snoop Dogg, Ice-T, Kat Williams, Henry Rollins and Quincy Jones. 2012. Rated R. 90 minutes.] 

Kon-tiki [2012] [Joachim Ronning directed this exciting Norwegian docudrama recreation of the famous and strenuous 1947 voyage that Thor Heyerdahl took to prove that the South Americans could have been the first to colonize the Polynesian Islands. He and five men set off on a small raft for their epic 101 day journey. This was nominated for a 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. Starring Pal Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, Gustaf Skarsgard and Jakob Oftebro. 2012. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes.]

Pain & Gain [As a director, Michael Bay has been all over the map. He's given us ballbusting great action epics The Rock and Armageddon, jaw-dropping machines vs. man sci-fi action in the Transformers series, mind-boggling sci-fi in The Island, violent buddy cop action comedies in Bad Boys 1 and 2, and both chick flick and guy flick versions of WWII in his yin/yang Pearl Harbor. Love him or hate him, you have to admit he always delivers edge-of-the-seat stylish action, over-the-top craziness, and he also puts every dollar of his budget up there on the big screen. This movie is something of a return to the dark comedy buddy formula he used in Bad Boys, but instead of stressed out cops, we get financially challenged body builders Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne Johnson going forward with a nutty scheme to rob snooty businessman Tony Shalhoub.  Their plan succeeds, but when the victim hires P.I. Ed Harris to get his money back, all hell breaks loose as the robbers become the hunted, leading to plenty of chases and fireworks.  Although some critics carped about Bay and the screenwriters making the real life story cartoonish and dumbed down, let's face it, the real-life body-builders were not exactly rocket scientists, and come on, this is a Michael Bay movie - we need our quota of mindless violence and loud explosions. At least there are no humongous robots in this one...at least not until the next Transformers blockbuster. 2013. Rated R. 129 minutes.]

Reluctant Fundamentalist, The [In this complex political drama/thriller, Riz Ahmed plays a popular young Pakistani professor who becomes a person of interest for the CIA when an American academic is kidnapped in Pakistan. However, an American correspondent interviews him and discovers that he has had a fascinating life that includes being a Wall Street broker and having an American lover. Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Kama Sutra) directed and Kate Hudson, Live Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland and Shabana Azmi also star. 2012. Rated R. 130 minutes.]

Sons of Anarchy: Season 5 [Chaos reigns as Jax becomes SAMCROs new president and is surrounded by ruthless enemies and betrayal that threatens his family. Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, and Tom Savini star. 2012. Unrated. 4 separate rentals.]

They Call It Myanmar [Shot clandestinely over a three year period in the second-most isolated country on the planet, Burma, this documentary lifts the curtain to expose the everyday life of a people who have been repressed by a brutal military regime for 48 years. Directed by Robert H. Lieberman. 2012. Unrated. 83 minutes.]

Walking Dead, The: Season 3 [Another amazing season as sheriff Rick Grimes holds onto control of his group of survivors although he seems to be losing his mind after suffering a shocking tragedy.  With his clique now hold up in a prison, they continue to fight an endless supply of nasty zombies, rival hostile human groups and discover an incredible dictator in sheep's clothing called The Governor who rules an entire town while shocking secrets lie beneath the surface. Andrew Lincoln is excellent as always as Grimes, but new addition David Morrissey (British TV's Thorne) steals the show as the villain you love to hate.  His multi-layered performance as The Governor has created of the most vile, morally conflicted and sadistic villains ever in TV history. Favorites Sarah Wayne Callies, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Scott Wilson, Laurie Holden, Steven Yuen, Lauren Cohan, Chandler Riggs, Emily Kinney and Danai Gurira return (well mostly return).  Lennie James (Low Winter Sun) also has a terrific guest shot on an episode. Overall, an astonishing and jaw-dropping season with shockers galore. Highly Recommended! 2012. Unrated. Five separate rentals.]

World Is Big and Salvation lurks Around the Corner, The [After a horrible car accident, a young man loses his memory, so his grandfather takes him back to birth country Germany to help him reconnect with his past and regain his identity in this life-affirming drama. Stephan Komandarev directed. 2008. Unrated. 110 minutes.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

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