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 17, 2013

New Releases - December 17, 2013

Blu-rays:

Ain't Them Bodies Saints [Understated romantic crime drama starring Casey Affleck as a prisoner who plots an escape to see his girlfriend/co-criminal Rooney Mara, whom he took the fall for and who had his baby while he's been incarcerated.  Co-starring Ben Foster, Rami Malek, Nate Parker and Keith Carradine. Directed by David Lowery. 2013. Rated R. 96 minutes.]

Elysium [Writer-director Neill Blomkamp followed up his rousing sci-fi debut District 9 (which earned cult status as well as a Best Picture Academy Award nomination) with this visually stunning futuristic thriller that did not quite receive as many raves. Sort of like THX-1138 done on an elephantine budget, the year is 2154 and Matt Damon may finally be the reluctant rebel who can end the class war that exists between the very wealthy who live on a luxurious space station named Elysium and the rest of humanity that lives on a not so great earth.  Jodie Foster makes an impressive villain. Sharlto Copley,Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura and William Fichtner also star. As usual, state of the art special effects enhance and drive the film while Damon gives another dynamic anti-hero performance as the partially robotic savior.  The film probably would have gotten better reviews from both audiences and critics if they weren't unfairly comparing it to District 9. 2013. In any case, it is still a very good and enjoyable allegorical fantasy, especially if you are a Damon fan. Rated R. 109 minutes. Box Office: $94 million.] 

Family, The [2013] [In the vein of the enjoyably campy Red series, except taken from the flip side, Robert De Niro plays the head of a notorious mafia family who reveals a lot of secrets in a tell all book, prompting Fed Tommy Lee Jones to put them in witness protection in Normandy, France.  Unfortunately for the mob, De Niro's ordinary looking family still knows how to take care of itself and is more than ready for the army of hit men they send to take them out. Although it's somewhat predictable, the cast makes this wacky comedy worth the rental. De Niro has a lot of fun making light of his built-in reputation as a film gangster in such films as Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Goodfellas, and Scorsese is one of the executive producers. Michelle Pfeiffer (who co-starred with De Niro in Stardust and was Al Pacino's moll in Scarface) plays his equally volatile mob wife, and Dianna Agron (TV's Glee) and John D'Leo play their self defense savvy kids. Jones adds his trademark deadpan humor. In a change of pace, iconic French action director Luc Besson  (La Femme Nikita, Leon The Professional, The Fifth Element) co-wrote and directed this funny farce that also makes great use of French locations. 2013. Rated R. 111 minutes. Box Office: $37 million.]

Kick-Ass 2 [The first film was an ultra-violent, ultra-funny superhero satire starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a comic book fan who decides to don tights and a mask and become a homemade superhero named Kick-Ass despite having no super powers. He fortunately teams up with Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his daughter Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), who are also hero wannabes, leading to a lot of hilarious mindless chaos as they round up baddies. If you haven't seen the first film, it would be wise to watch that first before jumping into this sequel since this one picks up where the last one left off. Johnson and Moretz return and try to be normal students, but villain Red Mist (played by Chrsitopher Mintz-Plasse) returns to get revenge for the death of his father and bands together a league of supervillains to eradicate our heroes.  They are forced to join new crime fighters (including wild and crazy Colonel Stars and Stripes played by Jim Carrey). Jeff Wadlow directed this sequel that is just as over-the-top and as absurdly violent and funny as the original. John Leguizamo, Yancy Butler (welcome back to films, Yancy!), Clark Duke, and Morris Chestnut also star. 2013. Rated R. 103 minutes. Box Office: $29 million.]

Lone Ranger, The [2013] [Though the box office for this big budgeted western was disappointing, this is a fun, action-packed reboot of the famous radio show turned TV show turned movie. Armie Hammer (The Social Network, J. Edgar) is quite good as the straight-laced John Reid, a Texas Ranger who is left for dead by villain Butch Cavendish (played by excellent character actor William Fichtner).  He is found and rescued by an odd Comanche named Tonto (Johnny Depp, in Brando mode and at his most inscrutable) who vows to help him avenge his brother's death at the hands of Cavendish.  Reid dons a mask and a white horse and goes in pursuit of the nasty bad guy in a long, arduous chase.  Gore Verbinski, who did most of The Pirates of the Caribbean films with Depp, directed and fills the film with huge action set pieces and buddy humor while making the most of iconic western locales like Monument Valley.  The main miscalculation by the writers and Verbinski is that it takes way too long for Hammer to don the famous get up.  Depp and Hammer make a pretty good, if offbeat screen team, and the impressive co-stars include Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson, James Badge Dale, and Helena Bonham Carter. In retrospect, film critics were way too harsh with this film, which is considerably better than 1981's The Legend of the Lone Ranger starring then unknown and still unknown Klinton Spilsbury (whose voice was even dubbed by James Keach) and Michael Horse in the leads. Like Disney's 2012 box office disappointment, the very underrated John Carter, the new The Lone Ranger is just as good as a lot of the summer blockbusters just misunderstood.  Rated PG-13. 149  minutes. Box Office: $90 million.]

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters [The first film, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, was an enjoyable family fantasy thriller that updated tales of Greek Gods. In this second film in the series, Logan Lerman returns as Percy as he and his demigod pals traverse the Sea of Monsters and  battle terrifying creatures, zombies and ultimate evil as they try to find the Golden Fleece and save their world before it is destroyed. Teens and kids should like this sequel almost as much as the first although adults may miss the star power (Pierce Brosnan's Chiron has been replaced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Head and Uma Thurman's Medusa does not even appear). At least, Nathan Fillion and Stanley Tucci appear along with Douglas Smith, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, and Jake Abel. Directed by Thor Freudenthal. 2013. Rated PG. 106 minutes. Box Office: $69 million.]

Prisoners [Considered one of the best films of the year by critics and audiences (on Rotten Tomatoes. this gets 81% from critics and 88% from audiences), this grim film noir is dominated by an intense performance by Hugh Jackman as the angry and desperate father of one of two kidnapped girls in a sleepy small town who will do anything to get his daughter back. In contrast, Jake Gyllenhaal  is also memorable in the more understated role of the no-nonsense cop trying to find the girls. The rest of the cast (Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, and especially Paul Dano as a creepy suspect and Melissa Leo as his quirky doting aunt) are equally impressive. If you are in the mood for a well-acted crime drama, this would fit the bill. Denis Villeneuve directed. 2013. Rated R. 153 minutes. Box Office: $61 million.]


DVDs:

Ain't Them Bodies Saints [Understated romantic crime drama starring Casey Affleck as a prisoner who plots an escape to see his girlfriend/co-criminal Rooney Mara, whom he took the fall for and who had his baby while he's been incarcerated.  Co-starring Ben Foster, Rami Malek, Nate Parker and Keith Carradine. Directed by David Lowery. 2013. Rated R. 96 minutes.]

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane [Probably one of the most fun horror/slasher movies you've never heard of in the last few years, this enjoyably over-the-top and somewhat campy thriller is finally getting a video release 7 years late.  The Weinstein Company bought the theatrical release rights for this film back in 2006 after seeing it at a film festival where it brought down the house. Just when they were going to release it, they suddenly dumped it, probably because they were in financial trouble at the time. In any case, it is finally getting its due. Sort of done tongue-in-cheek, a la Scream, the film stars a young and super sexy Amber Heard (Rum Diary, Drive Angry) as the most sought after virgin in town. She accepts an invite to a weekend in the country where the boys and girls have little time to party when they start getting killed one by one in increasingly grisly ways.  Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Michael Welch, Edwin Hodge, Aaron Himelstein, Luke Grimes and Melissa Price also star. Directed by Jonathan Levine, who also helmed the underrated Warm Bodies. Recommended!  2006. Rated R. 90 minutes.] 

Elysium [Writer-director Neill Blomkamp followed up his rousing sci-fi debut District 9 (which earned cult status as well as a Best Picture Academy Award nomination) with this visually stunning futuristic thriller that did not quite receive as many raves. Sort of like THX-1138 done on an elephantine budget, the year is 2154 and Matt Damon may finally be the reluctant rebel who can end the class war that exists between the very wealthy who live on a luxurious space station named Elysium and the rest of humanity that lives on a not so great earth.  Jodie Foster makes an impressive villain. Sharlto Copley,Alice Braga, Diego Luna, Wagner Moura and William Fichtner also star. As usual, state of the art special effects enhance and drive the film while Damon gives another dynamic anti-hero performance as the partially robotic savior.  The film probably would have gotten better reviews from both audiences and critics if they weren't unfairly comparing it to District 9. 2013. In any case, it is still a very good and enjoyable allegorical fantasy, especially if you are a Damon fan. Rated R. 109 minutes. Box Office: $94 million.]

Family, The [2013] [In the vein of the enjoyably campy Red series, except taken from the flip side, Robert De Niro plays the head of a notorious mafia family who reveals a lot of secrets in a tell all book, prompting Fed Tommy Lee Jones to put them in witness protection in Normandy, France.  Unfortunately for the mob, De Niro's ordinary looking family still knows how to take care of itself and is more than ready for the army of hit men they send to take them out. Although it's somewhat predictable, the cast makes this wacky comedy worth the rental. De Niro has a lot of fun making light of his built-in reputation as a film gangster in such films as Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets and Goodfellas, and Scorsese is one of the executive producers. Michelle Pfeiffer (who co-starred with De Niro in Stardust and was Al Pacino's moll in Scarface) plays his equally volatile mob wife, and Dianna Agron (TV's Glee) and John D'Leo play their self defense savvy kids. Jones adds his trademark deadpan humor. In a change of pace, iconic French action director Luc Besson  (La Femme Nikita, Leon The Professional, The Fifth Element) co-wrote and directed this funny farce that also makes great use of French locations. 2013. Rated R. 111 minutes. Box Office: $37 million.]

Justified: Season 4 [Timothy Olyphant returns as the unwavering Deputy US Marshal who digs into a 30 year old cold case that involves his criminal father's past. 2013. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]  

Kick-Ass 2 [The first film was an ultra-violent, ultra-funny superhero satire starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a comic book fan who decides to don tights and a mask and become a homemade superhero named Kick-Ass despite having no super powers. He fortunately teams up with Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and his daughter Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz), who are also hero wannabes, leading to a lot of hilarious mindless chaos as they round up baddies. If you haven't seen the first film, it would be wise to watch that first before jumping into this sequel since this one picks up where the last one left off. Johnson and Moretz return and try to be normal students, but villain Red Mist (played by Chrsitopher Mintz-Plasse) returns to get revenge for the death of his father and bands together a league of supervillains to eradicate our heroes.  They are forced to join new crime fighters (including wild and crazy Colonel Stars and Stripes played by Jim Carrey). Jeff Wadlow directed this sequel that is just as over-the-top and as absurdly violent and funny as the original. John Leguizamo, Yancy Butler (welcome back to films, Yancy!), Clark Duke, and Morris Chestnut also star. 2013. Rated R. 103 minutes. Box Office: $29 million.]

Lone Ranger, The [2013] [Though the box office for this big budgeted western was disappointing, this is a fun, action-packed reboot of the famous radio show turned TV show turned movie. Armie Hammer (The Social Network, J. Edgar) is quite good as the straight-laced John Reid, a Texas Ranger who is left for dead by villain Butch Cavendish (played by excellent character actor William Fichtner).  He is found and rescued by an odd Comanche named Tonto (Johnny Depp, in Brando mode and at his most inscrutable) who vows to help him avenge his brother's death at the hands of Cavendish.  Reid dons a mask and a white horse and goes in pursuit of the nasty bad guy in a long, arduous chase.  Gore Verbinski, who did most of The Pirates of the Caribbean films with Depp, directed and fills the film with huge action set pieces and buddy humor while making the most of iconic western locales like Monument Valley.  The main miscalculation by the writers and Verbinski is that it takes way too long for Hammer to don the famous get up.  Depp and Hammer make a pretty good, if offbeat screen team, and the impressive co-stars include Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson, James Badge Dale, and Helena Bonham Carter. In retrospect, film critics were way too harsh with this film, which is considerably better than 1981's The Legend of the Lone Ranger starring then unknown and still unknown Klinton Spilsbury (whose voice was even dubbed by James Keach) and Michael Horse in the leads. Like Disney's 2012 box office disappointment, the very underrated John Carter, the new The Lone Ranger is just as good as a lot of the summer blockbusters just misunderstood.  Rated PG-13. 149  minutes. Box Office: $90 million.]

Night Train to Lisbon [Jeremy Irons stars as an aging professor of classical languages who suddenly quits his job and obsessively searches for an author, doctor and poet who fought against Portuguese dictator Salazar. Melanie Laurent, Jack Huston, Martina Gedeck, Tom Cortenay, August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin, Christopher Lee, and Charlotte Rampling also star in this German-Swiss-Portuguese mystery directed by Billie August (House of the Spirits, Pelle the Conqueror). 2013. Rated R. 111 minutes.]

One Direction: This Is Us [The ultimate all-access pass to the world concert tour of the five member (Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson) boy band phemon. Surprisingly directed by Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold). 2013. Rated PG. 92 minutes. Box Office: $29 million.] 

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters [The first film, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, was an enjoyable family fantasy thriller that updated tales of Greek Gods. In this second film in the series, Logan Lerman returns as Percy as he and his demigod pals traverse the Sea of Monsters and  battle terrifying creatures, zombies and ultimate evil as they try to find the Golden Fleece and save their world before it is destroyed. Teens and kids should like this sequel almost as much as the first although adults may miss the star power (Pierce Brosnan's Chiron has been replaced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Anthony Head and Uma Thurman's Medusa does not even appear). At least, Nathan Fillion and Stanley Tucci appear along with Douglas Smith, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, and Jake Abel. Directed by Thor Freudenthal. 2013. Rated PG. 106 minutes. Box Office: $69 million.]

Prisoners [Considered one of the best films of the year by critics and audiences (on Rotten Tomatoes. this gets 81% from critics and 88% from audiences), this grim film noir is dominated by an intense performance by Hugh Jackman as the angry and desperate father of one of two kidnapped girls in a sleepy small town who will do anything to get his daughter back. In contrast, Jake Gyllenhaal  is also memorable in the more understated role of the no-nonsense cop trying to find the girls. The rest of the cast (Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, and especially Paul Dano as a creepy suspect and Melissa Leo as his quirky doting aunt) are equally impressive. If you are in the mood for a well-acted crime drama, this would fit the bill. Denis Villeneuve directed. 2013. Rated R. 153 minutes. Box Office: $61 million.]

Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela [In this PBS documentary, director Thomas Allen Harris explores the life of his stepfather Pule Benjamin Leinaeng, one of twelve men who left their homeland of South Africa in 1960 to broadcast to the world the horrors of Apartheid and raise money for the African National Congress and its leaders Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. 2005. Unrated. 75 minutes.]

New Arrivals:

Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The [1947] [Danny Kaye gives one of his best and most famous performances in this original version of James Thurber's famous story about a meek proofreader who daydreams about being the hero of many outrageous adventures to impress the girl of his dreams: Virginia Mayo. Boris Karloff, Fay Bainter and Ann Rutherford also star. Norman Z. McLeod directed this hilarious Technicolor fantasy classic. A must either before or after seeing the new big budget remake with Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig. Highly recommended! Unrated. 110 minutes.]    

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

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