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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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Releases - December 10, 2013

Blu-rays:

Despicable Me 2 [Steve Carell's villainous but lovable Gru and his minions are back in this even bigger hit animated sequel. This time, he's a good guy working with the Anti-Villain Leagueto track down a new mastermind while clumsily romancing a girl he's stuck on. The starring voices include Kristin Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong,  Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, and Miranda Cosgrove. Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin directed. The first film made a whopping $252 million in 2010 so it was no easy feat to match it, but this follow-up was also well-reviewed and made a staggering $367 million!!!  You can bet that number three is in the works. Recommended for kids of all ages!  2013. Rated PG. 98 minutes.]

Fast & Furious 6 [Before star and all around good guy Paul Walker's tragic and untimely death last week as a passenger in an ironic car crash, Fast & Furious 6 was considered the absolute best in the series and one of the best action adrenaline rush films of the year. That hasn't changed, but Walker's passing certainly makes one see the delirious E ticket joy ride in a slightly more serious light and reassess his short but charismatic career. Although he appeared in several films before, the first The Fast and the Furious in 2001 made stars of Walker and Vin Diesel, who formed an unlikely but magnetic buddy team as respectively an undercover cop and an illegal street racer who combine forces to nab thugs behind some big truck robberies. Walker returned to do the second film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, without Diesel, but it was still a hit. The third film, The Fast and the Furious-Tokyo Drift,  featured neither Walker nor Diesel and did poorly, so it seemed that the franchise was about to run out of gas when both Diesel and Walker decided to return for the fourth installment, Fast & Furious, which was a huge hit and turned out to be the best in the series.  Back on track, they came back again for Fast Five, which was an even bigger hit and added Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and then #6 which eclipsed all previous films. In the meantime, a look at Walker's solo career displays a lot of interesting choices: The Skulls, Joy Ride, The Lazarus Project, Eight Below, Into the Blue, Timeline, Flags of Our Fathers and particularly Running Scared. Walker was solid and memorable in every film and always seemed underrated by critics because of his understated, realistic style. Daily Variety quoted Wayne Kramer, who directed him in Running Scared and Pawn Shop Chronicles, as saying, "I always told Paul that his most exciting years were going to be the 40s and 50s, and even beyond, as a masculine American tough guy in the vein of Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, and Lee Marvin. We talked about how Paul was going to be my Lee Marvin and we were hungry to make those kind of films that could show Paul in that light." It is really a shame that we will never be able to see that later career that Kramer envisioned. Having met all three of those action icons, I could see exactly what he was talking about, and Walker would have been great in that mature tough guy mold. For now, we'll just have to enjoy the legacy he has left behind, and Fast & Furious 6 once again shows off his charismatic bond with co-star Diesel, who work so well together. In this exciting, non-stop thrill ride, they try to thwart a racing gang, including Diesel's once thought dead girlfriend Michelle Rodriguez, from stealing a top secret weapon. Franchise regulars Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Chris Ludacris Bridges return with newcomers Sung Kang, Gina Carano, Luke Evans and John Oritz.  Rodriguez, who made her starring debut in Girl Fight, appropriately has a standout girl fight with ex-MMA star Carano (Haywire). Director Justin Lin once again keeps the lightning pace that fans have come to expect. Highly recommended if you are an all-out action fan!  2013. Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. Box Office: $239 million.]

Hunt, The [2012] [Mads Mikkelsen, the brilliant actor who first gained international attention as the unforgettable 007 villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale and is currently creating buzz as the wonderfully sick gourmet chef/serial killer/FBI advisor Hannibal Lechter on  NBC's deliciously perverted and darkly humorous Hannibal), gives a subtle and powerful performance in this intense drama as a troubled teacher who appears to be finally getting his life back on track after a bitter divorce and custody fight when an innocent lie is taken as truth and threatens his newfound happiness. Also starring Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrom. Susse Wold, Anne Louise Hassing, Lars Ranthe and Alexandra Rapaport. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg. In Danish and English subtitles. Recommended! Rated R. 111 minutes. Box Office: $1 million.]

Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition [One of my personal favorites and one of Walt Disney's best and most popular films, this classic family musical fantasy is making its Blu-ray debut in a newly remastered version that is being released to help promote Saving Mr. Banks, Disney's enjoyable account of how the film was made after much difficulty acquiring the rights from writer P.L. Travers. Julie Andrews won the Best Actress Academy Award for her starring debut as the prim, beautiful nanny who takes charge of two incorrigible rich children and shows them how enjoyable life can be with a little magic and imagination. She is "practically perfect in every way" and so are the movie and Andrews, who was born to play the role which understandably made her a huge international movie star and flawlessly showcased her luminous beauty, magnetism and pristine voice. Dick Van Dyke is also terrific as Bert, Poppins' lovable chimney sweep friend, and he was able to make great use of his versatile dancing skill and vocal talents, which he had previously shown off in Bye Bye Birdie and his long-running hit TV series The Dick Van Dyke Show. The film was also a true ground-breaker in combining live action with animation. Although Disney had previously used the technique effectively in films like Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart, it was even more realistic, complex and dazzling thanks to Disney's vastly improved special effects, which also won  a well-deserved Oscar. Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber were a delight as the children and also appeared together in Disney's The Three Lives of Thomasina and The Gnome Mobile. David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns were also excellent as the distracted parents, and Ed Wynn, Reta Shaw and Hermionie Baddeley also lent standout support. Robert Stevenson, a long-time Disney veteran who had directed Darby O'Gill and the Little People, In Search of the Castaways and many others,  did a superb job directing the crown jewel of his career and Disney's, and The Sherman Brothers provided a musical score that rivaled the best of Rodgers and Hammerstein with amazing songs like A Spoonful of Sugar, Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Feed the Birds, I Love to Laugh, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and Oscar winning Chim Chim Cher-ee. Almost fifty years later, the film is as fresh, bright and as magical as the day it was released. Highly recommended! 1964. 139 minutes.

DVDs:

Adore [Offbeat erotic Australian-French drama starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright as lifelong friends who suddenly find themselves in the awkward position of being sexually involved with each other's sons! Xavier Samuel, James Frencheville, Sophie Lowe, Jessica Tovey and Ben Mendelsohn co-star. Directed by Anne Fontaine. 2013. Rated R. 100 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.]

Angels' Share, The [Earthy and likable Cannes-winning comedy about a rudderless slacker who finds he has a talent for whiskey tasting when he has to perform community service. Starring Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, Gary Maitland, William Ruane, Jasmi Riggins, Roger Allam, Siobhan Reilly and Charlie Maclean. Ken Loach directed. 2012. Unrated. 101 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.]

Berberian Sound Studio [Effective UK film noir thriller starring Toby Jones as a sound engineer who arrives in Rome to work on a horror film set in a girls riding academy and becomes so engrossed in the film that the line between the real and unreal blurs. Peter Strickland directed, and Tonia Sotiropoulou, Suzy Kendall, Cosimo Fusco, Antonio Mancino, Fatma Mohamed, Salvatore Li Causi, and Chiara D'Anna co-star. 2012. Unrated. 92 minutes.]

Despicable Me 2 [Steve Carell's villainous but lovable Gru and his minions are back in this even bigger hit animated sequel. This time, he's a good guy working with the Anti-Villain Leagueto track down a new mastermind while clumsily romancing a girl he's stuck on. The starring voices include Kristin Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong,  Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, and Miranda Cosgrove. Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin directed. The first film made a whopping $252 million in 2010 so it was no easy feat to match it, but this follow-up was also well-reviewed and made a staggering $367 million!!!  You can bet that number three is in the works. Recommended for kids of all ages!  2013. Rated PG. 98 minutes.]

Doc Martin: Series 6 [Martin Clunes returns as everyone's favorite curmudgeon Doc Martin in this very popular British sictom's sixth series in which he and Caroline Catz are now uneasy newlyweds with a child and two careers to manage. What can go wrong?  Highly recommended! 2013. Unrated. Two separate rentals.]

Fast & Furious 6 [Before star and all around good guy Paul Walker's tragic and untimely death last week as a passenger in an ironic car crash, Fast & Furious 6 was considered the absolute best in the series and one of the best action adrenaline rush films of the year. That hasn't changed, but Walker's passing certainly makes one see the delirious E ticket joy ride in a slightly more serious light and reassess his short but charismatic career. Although he appeared in several films before, the first The Fast and the Furious in 2001 made stars of Walker and Vin Diesel, who formed an unlikely but magnetic buddy team as respectively an undercover cop and an illegal street racer who combine forces to nab thugs behind some big truck robberies. Walker returned to do the second film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, without Diesel, but it was still a hit. The third film, The Fast and the Furious-Tokyo Drift,  featured neither Walker nor Diesel and did poorly, so it seemed that the franchise was about to run out of gas when both Diesel and Walker decided to return for the fourth installment, Fast & Furious, which was a huge hit and turned out to be the best in the series.  Back on track, they came back again for Fast Five, which was an even bigger hit and added Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and then #6 which eclipsed all previous films. In the meantime, a look at Walker's solo career displays a lot of interesting choices: The Skulls, Joy Ride, The Lazarus Project, Eight Below, Into the Blue, Timeline, Flags of Our Fathers and particularly Running Scared. Walker was solid and memorable in every film and always seemed underrated by critics because of his understated, realistic style. Daily Variety quoted Wayne Kramer, who directed him in Running Scared and Pawn Shop Chronicles, as saying, "I always told Paul that his most exciting years were going to be the 40s and 50s, and even beyond, as a masculine American tough guy in the vein of Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, and Lee Marvin. We talked about how Paul was going to be my Lee Marvin and we were hungry to make those kind of films that could show Paul in that light." It is really a shame that we will never be able to see that later career that Kramer envisioned. Having met all three of those action icons, I could see exactly what he was talking about, and Walker would have been great in that mature tough guy mold. For now, we'll just have to enjoy the legacy he has left behind, and Fast & Furious 6 once again shows off his charismatic bond with co-star Diesel, who work so well together. In this exciting, non-stop thrill ride, they try to thwart a racing gang, including Diesel's once thought dead girlfriend Michelle Rodriguez, from stealing a top secret weapon. Franchise regulars Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, and Chris Ludacris Bridges return with newcomers Sung Kang, Gina Carano, Luke Evans and John Oritz.  Rodriguez, who made her starring debut in Girl Fight, appropriately has a standout girl fight with ex-MMA star Carano (Haywire). Director Justin Lin once again keeps the lightning pace that fans have come to expect. Highly recommended if you are an all-out action fan!  2013. Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. Box Office: $239 million.]

Hunt, The [2012] [Mads Mikkelsen, the brilliant actor who first gained international attention as the unforgettable 007 villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale and is currently creating buzz as the wonderfully sick gourmet chef/serial killer/FBI advisor Hannibal Lechter on  NBC's deliciously perverted and darkly humorous Hannibal), gives a subtle and powerful performance in this intense drama as a troubled teacher who appears to be finally getting his life back on track after a bitter divorce and custody fight when an innocent lie is taken as truth and threatens his newfound happiness. Also starring Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp, Lasse Fogelstrom. Susse Wold, Anne Louise Hassing, Lars Ranthe and Alexandra Rapaport. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg. In Danish and English subtitles. Recommended! Rated R. 111 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.]

Jayne Mansfield's Car [Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade) returns to directing with this drama set in a small Alabama town in 1969 when the death of a wife and mother of a long estranged clan brings together family members who finally air their differences after decades apart. The all-star cast includes Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Robert Patrick, Ray Stevenson, Katherine LaNasa, Frances O'Connor, Shawnee Smith and Ron White. 2013. Rated R. 122 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.]

Man of Tai Chi [Keanu Reeves makes an impressive directing debut with this solid martial arts action drama in which he stars as a wealthy fight club owner who discovers talented young Tai Chi artist Tiger Chen, who becomes the object of many competing benefactors. Karen Mok, Yu Hai, Ye Qing. Simon Yam and Michael Chan also star. 2013. Rated R. 105 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.]

Mary Poppins: 50th Anniversary Edition [One of my personal favorites and one of Walt Disney's best and most popular films, this classic family musical fantasy is being re-released on DVD in a newly remastered version that is being timed to help promote Saving Mr. Banks, Disney's enjoyable account of how the film was made after much difficulty acquiring the rights from writer P.L. Travers. Julie Andrews won the Best Actress Academy Award for her starring debut as the prim, beautiful nanny who takes charge of two incorrigible rich children and shows them how enjoyable life can be with a little magic and imagination. She is "practically perfect in every way" and so are the movie and Andrews, who was born to play the role which understandably made her a huge international movie star and flawlessly showcased her luminous beauty, magnetism and pristine voice. Dick Van Dyke is also terrific as Bert, Poppins' lovable chimney sweep friend, and he was able to make great use of his versatile dancing skill and vocal talents, which he had previously shown off in Bye Bye Birdie and his long-running hit TV series The Dick Van Dyke Show. The film was also a true ground-breaker in combining live action with animation. Although Disney had previously used the technique effectively in films like Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart, it was even more realistic, complex and dazzling thanks to Disney's vastly improved special effects, which also won  a well-deserved Oscar. Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber were a delight as the children and also appeared together in Disney's The Three Lives of Thomasina and The Gnome Mobile. David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns were also excellent as the distracted parents, and Ed Wynn, Reta Shaw and Hermionie Baddeley also lent standout support. Robert Stevenson, a long-time Disney veteran who had directed Darby O'Gill and the Little People, In Search of the Castaways and many others,  did a superb job directing the crown jewel of his career and Disney's, and The Sherman Brothers provided a musical score that rivaled the best of Rodgers and Hammerstein with amazing songs like A Spoonful of Sugar, Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Feed the Birds, I Love to Laugh, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and Oscar winning Chim Chim Cher-ee. Almost fifty years later, the film is as fresh, bright and as magical as the day it was released. Highly recommended! 1964. 139 minutes.

Rooftop, The [Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou starred and directed this musical action romance about a cocky drifter who is one of several kids who spends his life living and singing and dancing on rooftops, but his life changes when he meets the girl of his dreams.  Co-starring Eric Tsang, Wang Xuegi, and Xu Fan. In Mandarin with English subtitles. 2013. Unrated. 120 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.]

Sightseers [Charming road comedy starring Steve Oram as a young guy who wants to show his sheltered girlfriend Alice Lowe the world starting with a caravan in the UK, but things go quite awry thanks to noisy tourists and relatives. Ben Wheatley directed. 2012. Unrated. 88 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.] 

Things Never Said [In this indie romance, Shanola Hampton plays a new poet trying to find her voice who meets fellow poet Omari Hardwick and sparks fly artistically as well as romantically. Elimu Nelson, Dorian Missick, Charlayne Woodard, Tom Wright and Michael Beach also star. Directed by Charles Murray. 2013. Rated R. 111 minutes.]

Touchy Feely [Quirky comedy in which Rosemarie DeWitt (Mad Men) plays a gifted massage therapist who suddenly develops an aversion to touch while brother Josh Pais' dental practice starts failing. The fun co-stars include Allison Janney, Ron Livingston, Scoot McNairy, Ellen Page and Tomo Nakayama. Directed by Lynn Shelton. 2013. Rated R. 89 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.]

Winnie Mandela [Ironically timed release considering South African leader Nelson Mandela's recent death, this drama explores the early years of Winnie and Nelson Mandela's relationship, how they met, fell in love and fought apartheid in South Africa. Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard star as the famous couple. Elias Koteas and Wendy Crewson also star. Daniel J. Roodt directed. 2013. Rated R. 107 minutes.]

You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet [Alain Resnais (Hiroshima Mon Amour) directed this critically acclaimed all-star drama starring Denis Podalydes as a late playwright who reads his will via video, inspiring actor attendees to break out in impromptu performances. The stellar cast includes Mathieu Amalric, Pierre Arditi, Anne Consigny, Anny Duperey, Hippolyte Giradot, Michel Piccoli. Michel Robin, Lambert Wilson, and Sabine Azema. 2012. In French with English subtitles. Unrated. 112 minutes. Box Office: Under $1 million.] 

Notes by manager Steven Y, Mori.

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