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, January 12, 2014

New Releases - January 14, 2014

Blu-rays:

Carrie [2013] [Surprisingly good if more visceral redo of the Stephen King novel and Brian De Palma 1976 horror classic with Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) great as the bullied telekinetic teen who gets bloody revenge on her tormentors when prom night rolls around. Julianne Moore also is a standout as her religious wacko mom. Co-starring Judy Greer and Portia Doubleday. Directed by Kimberly Peirce. Although it may not exactly erase the De Palma classic from memory, this effective remake is much better and more of a shocker than the 2002 TV reboot, and with all of the current bullying incidents, it also resonates as more topical thanks to updates including social networking. Rated R. 100 minutes. Box Office: $36 million.]

Closed Circuit [Topical UK-USA thriller about a high-profile terrorism case that reunites ex-lovers Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall as they defend a client and find their lives in serious danger. Part of the twist is that, due to security concerns, both are given different access to ubiquitous surveillance footage according to British law, further complicating their defense. Ciaran Hinds, Jim Broadbent, Kenneth Cranham, Julia Stiles,  Riz Ahmed, and Anne-Marie Duff co-star.  John Crowley (A Boy, Intermission) directed. 2013. Rated R. 96 minutes. Box Office: $6 million.]

Enough Said [The late James Gandolfini (The Sopranos, Get Shorty) gives one of his last and best performances in this crowd-pleasing romantic comedy opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfuss of Seinfeld and Veep fame.  They play divorced singles who meet and fall in love, and all seems to be going well until Dreyfuss meets a woman friend who is continually ranting about her ex, who turns out to be Gandolfini!  That raises doubts in her mind, leading to a lot of twists and turns.  The acclaimed film co-stars Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, and Ben Falcone. Nicole Holofcenter directed this hit that has landed on a number of Top Ten Lists and has garnered several nominations and awards. Highly recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 93 minutes. Box Office: $18 million.]

Fruitvale Station [Oakland filmmaker Ryan Coogler hit the big time directing and writing this critically acclaimed indie that tells the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22 year old black man who runs into friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008.  Of course, everyone in Oakland, California knows that unarmed Grant was later killed by a BART police officer who accidentally pulled his gun instead of a Taser, but this compelling drama tells the back story of Grant, who had his share of trouble in his life but was in the midst of trying to turn things around. The controversial but accidental killing led to protests, riots, looting, racial tension, and national media attention. In his feature film directing debut, Coogler does an excellent job, and particularly impressive is his ability to give a fair and balanced portrait of the events.  The film has won a number of awards (including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance) and landed on several Top Ten lists. The casting is also superb, with Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer giving terrific performances respectively as Grant and his mother. Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray and Melonie Diaz also star. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated R. 85 minutes. Box Office: $17 million.]

Lee Daniels' The Butler [Lee Daniels (Precious) directed this excellent all-star epic based on a true story about a respected and loyal black butler Cecil Gaines who started life on a plantation and ended up serving seven presidents in the White House. Forest Whitaker is fine in the title role, but Oprah Winfrey is the one getting most of the awards buzz as his wife.  Ironically, when this first was released, it became the front runner for awards attention but has since mostly fallen off the radar thanks to 12 Years a Slave. Nevertheless, this provides a fascinating overview of American history in the 20th century, and the astonishing and massive supporting cast is terrific: Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, Alan Rickman, Live Schreiber, Minka Kelly, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, David Oyelowo, Clarence Williams III,  and Robin Williams. Highly recommended!  2013. Rated PG-13. 132 minutes. Box Office: $117 million.]

Riddick [2013] [Nine years after the hit sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, Vin Diesel returns to the role that made him a star in 2000's Pitch Black. He plays the title character, the most wanted convict in the universe, who has to fight against an army of alien predators in this exciting sci-fi action flick.  Katee Sackoff (from the Battlestar Galactica redo) joins him along with John Molla, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Bookem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, and Karl Urban (Star Trek's new Dr. McCoy, TV's Almost Human). Thankfully, David Twohy, who directed the first two films, returned to direct. Rated R. 119 minutes. Box Office: $42 million. Note that the Blu-ray contains an unrated version too.] 

Short Term 12 [This well-reviewed feel-good romantic indie drama stars Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) as a young supervisor of a home for troubled teens who is passionate, tough, and independent, but she faces challenges with her troubled past and a distraught new arrival at the facility that threaten her relationship with her co-worker and long-time boyfriend John Gallagher, Jr. (the charming actor who plays Jim Harper on HBO's The Newsroom). Can their love survive all this stress? In addition to Larson and Gallagher's appealing performances, Kaitlin Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield, Kevin Hernandez, Melora Walters, and Stephanie Beatriz lend fine support. Destin Daniel directed this critically acclaimed film. Highly recommended! 2013. Rated R. 96 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Spectacular Now, The [Acclaimed coming of age dramedy starring Miles Teller as a charming but hard-partying senior in high school whose life implodes when he loses his girlfriend and his job but finds his groove again when he meets and falls for atypical girl next door Shailene Woodley. Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kyle Chandler also star. James Ponsoldt directed. 2013. Rated R. 95 minutes. Box Office: $7 million.]

DVDs:

20 Feet from Stardom [Exhilarating musical documentary that, for the first time, shines a light (or a mike) on the unsung heroes of the music world: background singers.  The exquisite and amazing voices of Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Claudia Lennear and Judith Hill are showcased, and they are contributors to some of the biggest hits by Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder and Bette Midler, who are interviewed in this rousing film directed by Morgan Neville. Highly recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 91 minutes. Box Office: $5 million.]

A.C.O.D.: Adult Children of Divorce [Wacky and likable all-star romcom starring Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott as a neurotic young man who gets way too many revelations from his divorced parents and friends thrown at him when they have an impromptu reunion at his younger brother's wedding. The great cast includes Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Jessica Alba, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ken Howard, and Jane Lynch. Directed by Stuart Zicherman. 2013. Rated R. 88 minutes.]

Blue Caprice [Chilling and disturbing recreation of bitter burnout Isaiah Washington (TV's Grey's Anatomy) showing abandoned teen Tequan Richmond how the moral decay of society has deemed him unfit to be a husband and parent. He becomes a bizarre father figure to the boy as they hit the road in a Chevy Caprice to find Washington's estranged wife and kids in Maryland and start killing people along the way via freeway sniper attacks.  Alexander Moors directed this grim true tale based on the D.C. Snipers' 2002 Beltway attacks. Tim Blake Nelson, Joey Lauren Adams and Leo Fitzpatrick co-star. 2013. Rated R. 93 minutes.] 

Carrie [2013] [Surprisingly good if more visceral redo of the Stephen King novel and Brian De Palma 1976 horror classic with Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) great as the bullied telekinetic teen who gets bloody revenge on her tormentors when prom night rolls around. Julianne Moore also is a standout as her religious wacko mom. Co-starring Judy Greer and Portia Doubleday. Directed by Kimberly Peirce. Although it may not exactly erase the De Palma classic from memory, this effective remake is much better and more of a shocker than the 2002 TV reboot, and with all of the current bullying incidents, it also resonates as more topical thanks to updates including social networking. Rated R. 100 minutes. Box Office: $36 million.]

Closed Circuit [Topical UK-USA thriller about a high-profile terrorism case that reunites ex-lovers Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall as they defend a client and find their lives in serious danger. Part of the twist is that, due to security concerns, both are given different access to ubiquitous surveillance footage according to British law, further complicating their defense. Ciaran Hinds, Jim Broadbent, Kenneth Cranham, Julia Stiles,  Riz Ahmed, and Anne-Marie Duff co-star.  John Crowley (A Boy, Intermission) directed. 2013. Rated R. 96 minutes. Box Office: $6 million.]

Copper: Season 2 [In season 2 of this period BBC TV series, New York is a political powderkeg waiting to explode in the pre-Lincoln assassination period while detective Corcoran (played by Tom Weston-Jones) deals with his personal demons. Kyle Schmid, Anastasia Griffith, Ato Essandoh, Tessa Thompson, Donal Logue and Franka Potenta also star. 2013. Unrated.  3 separate rentals.]

Crystal Fairy & the Magic Cactus, The [Magic Magic director Sebastian Silva and star Michael Cena reunite for this cute Chilean road farce starring Cena as a boorish American who goes on a search for a special hallucinatory cactus with 3 Chilean brothers that takes a spicy turn when they are joined by free-spirited fellow American Gaby Hoffman. Agustin Silva, Juan Andres Silva, and Jose Miguel Silva play the brothers. 2013. Unrated. 98 minutes.]

Enough Said [The late James Gandolfini (The Sopranos, Get Shorty) gives one of his last and best performances in this crowd-pleasing romantic comedy opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfuss of Seinfeld and Veep fame.  They play divorced singles who meet and fall in love, and all seems to be going well until Dreyfuss meets a woman friend who is continually ranting about her ex, who turns out to be Gandolfini!  That raises doubts in her mind, leading to a lot of twists and turns.  The acclaimed film co-stars Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, and Ben Falcone. Nicole Holofcenter directed this hit that has landed on a number of Top Ten Lists and has garnered several nominations and awards. Highly recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 93 minutes. Box Office: $18 million.]

Fruitvale Station [Oakland filmmaker Ryan Coogler hit the big time directing and writing this critically acclaimed indie that tells the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22 year old black man who runs into friends, enemies, family and strangers on the last day of 2008.  Of course, everyone in Oakland, California knows that unarmed Grant was later killed by a BART police officer who accidentally pulled his gun instead of a Taser, but this compelling drama tells the back story of Grant, who had his share of trouble in his life but was in the midst of trying to turn things around. The controversial but accidental killing led to protests, riots, looting, racial tension, and national media attention. In his feature film directing debut, Coogler does an excellent job, and particularly impressive is his ability to give a fair and balanced portrait of the events.  The film has won a number of awards (including the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance) and landed on several Top Ten lists. The casting is also superb, with Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer giving terrific performances respectively as Grant and his mother. Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray and Melonie Diaz also star. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated R. 85 minutes. Box Office: $17 million.]     

Greedy Lying Bastards [Craig Scott Rosebraugh directed this provocative documentary executive produced by Daryl Hannah that deals with the people and politicians who debunk global climate change as fiction despite scientific and government warnings and evidence that it affects the planet and everyone on it. Al Gore is one of the many interviewees. 2013. Rated PG-13. 90 minutes.]

Inequality for All [Fascinating treatise about the growing disparity between the middle class and the upper class as explained by respected former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich.  Directed by Jacob Kornbluth. 2013. Rated PG. 89 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Last Love [Michael Caine gives another memorable performance as a widowed, burned-out professor living in Paris whose life is turned around when he meets vivacious young dance instructor Clemence Posey who gives him a reason to live and love again. Gillian Anderson, Justin Kirk, Jane Alexander, Richard Hope, and Anne Alvaro also star. Sandra Nettelbeck directed this appealing dramedy. 2013. Unrated. 116 minutes.]

Lee Daniels' The Butler [Lee Daniels (Precious) directed this excellent all-star epic based on a true story about a respected and loyal black butler Cecil Gaines who started life on a plantation and ended up serving seven presidents in the White House. Forest Whitaker is fine in the title role, but Oprah Winfrey is the one getting most of the awards buzz as his wife.  Ironically, when this first was released, it became the front runner for awards attention but has since mostly fallen off the radar thanks to 12 Years a Slave. Nevertheless, this provides a fascinating overview of American history in the 20th century, and the astonishing and massive supporting cast is terrific: Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, Alan Rickman, Live Schreiber, Minka Kelly, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, David Oyelowo, Clarence Williams III,  and Robin Williams. Highly recommended!  2013. Rated PG-13. 132 minutes. Box Office: $117 million.]

Ordinary Hero, An: True Story of Joan Trumpauer, The [Interesting documentary about a young white woman who went to dozens of important civil rights marches in the Sixties. Directed by Loki Mulholland. 2013. Unrated. 91 minutes.]

Riddick [2013] [Nine years after the hit sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, Vin Diesel returns to the role that made him a star in 2000's Pitch Black. He plays the title character, the most wanted convict in the universe, who has to fight against an army of alien predators in this exciting sci-fi action flick.  Katee Sackoff (from the Battlestar Galactica redo) joins him along with John Molla, Matt Nable, Dave Bautista, Bookem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, and Karl Urban (Star Trek's new Dr. McCoy, TV's Almost Human). Thankfully, David Twohy, who directed the first two films, returned to direct. Rated R. 119 minutes. Box Office: $42 million. Note that the Blu-ray contains an unrated version too.]

Short Term 12 [This well-reviewed feel-good romantic indie drama stars Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World) as a young supervisor of a home for troubled teens who is passionate, tough, and independent, but she faces challenges with her troubled past and a distraught new arrival at the facility that threaten her relationship with her co-worker and long-time boyfriend John Gallagher, Jr. (the charming actor who plays Jim Harper on HBO's The Newsroom). Can their love survive all this stress?  In addition to Larson and Gallagher's appealing performances, Kaitlin Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield, Kevin Hernandez, Melora Walters, and Stephanie Beatriz lend fine support. Destin Daniel directed this critically acclaimed film. Highly recommended! 2013. Rated R. 96 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Single Shot, A [Effective woodsy film noir with Sam Rockwell as a backwoodsman who accidentally shoots and kills a woman who has a box full of cash, leading to a bunch of people hunting him. Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly, Jason Isaacs, and William H. Macy co-star. David M. Rosenthal (See This Movie, Janie Jones) directed. 2013. Rated R. 116 minutes.]

Small Island [Poignant Irish TV film about two couples, one Jamaican and one British, whose worlds intertwine in post WWII Britain at a turning point in the relationship between the two countries. Naomie Harris, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson and Benedict Cumberbatch star. John Alexander directed. 2009. Unrated. 180 minutes.]

Spectacular Now, The [Acclaimed coming of age dramedy starring Miles Teller as a charming but hard-partying senior in high school whose life implodes when he loses his girlfriend and his job but finds his groove again when he meets and falls for atypical girl next door Shailene Woodley. Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kyle Chandler also star. James Ponsoldt directed. 2013. Rated R. 95 minutes. Box Office: $7 million.]

Thanks for Sharing [An amazing cast highlights this edgy ensemble comedy about three very different guys (played by Mark Ruffalo, Timothy Robbins and Josh Gad) who become friends while attending a support group for sex addicts. Gwyneth Paltrow, Joely Richardson, Carol Kane and Alecia Moore (Pink) also headline. Directed by Stuart Blumberg. 2013. Rated R. 112 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]  

Top of the Lake [Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss is fine as a troubled New Zealand detective who investigates the sudden disappearance of a young pregnant girl that leads to many dark small-town secrets. Jane Campion (In the Cut, The Piano) directed most of this Australian-New Zealand-UK-USA mini-series co-starring Peter Mullan, David Wunham, and Holly Hunter. Moss just won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries. Highly Recommended! 2013. Unrated. 2 separate rentals.]

We Are What We Are [2010] [Creepy and darkly humorous Mexican horror/comedy about a family of cannibals who must adapt when their father and hunter/food provider dies, so one of them must learn to kill. Starring Francisco Barreiro, Alan Chavez, Paulina Gaitan, Carmen Beato, and Jorge Zarate. Jorge Michel Grau directed.  Unrated. 90 minutes.]

We Are What We Are [2013] [This disturbing and sexy remake of the above horror film stars Bill Sage, Julia Garner and Kelly McGillis. In this US version, a seemingly benign family harbors a very dark secret that may be close to being exposed when authorities start to take an interest in their clandestine activities. Jim Mickle directed. Rated R. 105 minutes.]

You're Next [Gripping horror chiller about a couple who have a wedding anniversary party reunion at a secluded and rundown estate in the country, but it turns into a bloody nightmare when mask-wearing archers viciously attack them. Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Barbara Crampton, and Rob Moran star. Directed by Adam Wingard. 2013. Rated R. 95 minutes. Box Office: $19 million.]

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

   

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