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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info @ videoroomoakland.com

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

New Releases - February 4, 2014

We apologize for the delay in posting this week's new releases, but we had an unfortunately late shipment from our distributor.  We are listing titles that were tentatively due to arrive this week. If there are specific titles you are interested in, please call the store to confirm if they are available yet.  Thank you for your patience. 

Blu-rays:

About Time [Richard Curtis, who directed the beloved Christmas classic Love, Always, returned to the romantic comedy genre with this crowd-pleasing and charming fantasy starring Domhnall Gleeson as a young time traveler who decides to use his gift to find a girl friend but discovers it is a lot more difficult than he thought.  Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Lydia Wilson, and Lindsay Duncan also star. Highly Recommended!  2013. Rated R. 123 minutes. Box Office: $16 million.]

Dallas Buyers Club [Matthew McConaughey gives the best performance of his career in this drama loosely based on a true story of an electrician and hustler who does whatever it takes to get medication to AIDS patients when he himself is diagnosed with the disease. McConaughey is currently the favorite to win the Best Actor Oscar after winning the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, and other awards. Jared Leto, who plays his flamboyant cross-dressing assistant Rayon (who is apparently a fictional character according to news reports), has also won the same awards for Best Supporting Actor and is also considered a strong Oscar contender. The fine cast includes Jennifer Garner, Denis O'Hare, Steve Zahn, Michael O'Neil, Dallas Roberts and Griffin Dunne. McConuaghey has had a very interesting career that took awhile to catch fire (with A Time to Kill), then cooled down after doing too many so-so romantic comedies (The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Fool's Gold, etc.), and kicked back into red hot with 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer. In the last few years, he has made all the right career choices doing terrific work in edgy films like Killer Joe, The Paperboy, and Bernie and most recently in the superb HBO film noir TV  series True Detective. For his art, McConaughey also pulled a Robert De Niro by reportedly losing over 40 pounds for this film, which is no easy feat. Talented Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee (Café de Flore, The Young Victoria) directed this moving drama that is one of the best films of 2013 and is nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated R. 117 minutes. Box Office: $23 million.]

Fifth Estate, The [Despite the tepid box office and mixed reviews, rising star Benedict Cumberbatch came out pretty much unscathed from this docudrama that was pretty much considered one of the biggest disappointments of 2013. Regardless of that, Cumberbatch (who gave great, critically acclaimed performances in  two of the year's best pictures, Star Trek Into Darkness and 12 Years a Slave, as well as BBC-TV's Sherlock: Season 3) gives a fine performance as the self-absorbed and prickly Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whom some consider a hero and others a traitor for leaking confidential US government files. Another plus is the excellent supporting cast that includes Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, Carice Van Houten, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, and Moritz Bleibtreu. First rate director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters) directed this underrated political thriller that is definitely worth a look. At least it gets a decent 6.0 on IMDB. 2013. Rated R. 128 minutes. Box Office: $4 million.]

Metallica: Through the Never [San Francisco's premiere heavy metal band Metallica and director Nimrod Antal (Predators) have created something of a rarity: one of the few rock'n'roll concert films that actually stands out and tries to do something new.  And it succeeds.  Unlike most concert films that present a straight-forward concert, this one intercuts an ongoing sci-fi story with the performance footage. The film follows a young Metallica roadie named Trip who is sent on an urgent mission during a show, but what seems like a simple errand turns into a fight for survival that might affect the entire universe.  The sci-fi angle definitely makes sense since the band is a big fan of the genre (lead guitarist and songwriter Kirk Hammett used to be a Video Room customer when we carried laser discs, and he was a big fan of sci-fi, horror and Twin Peaks). Hot newcomer Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) plays the lead, and the electrifying film received rave reviews (Rotten Tomatoes gave it a strong 78 and IMDB a solid 7.5). Recommended! 2013. Rated R. 92 minutes. Box Office: $4 million.]

Romeo & Juliet [2013] [Italian filmmaker Carlo Carlei (Flight of the Innocent) directed this lavish remake of the famous William Shakespeare tragedy about a young couple who fall in love despite the fact that their families have a bitter ongoing feud.  This period costume version stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Douglas Booth (LOL) as the lovers and features Damian Lewis (Homeland), Laura Morante, Natascha McEhlone, Stellan Skarsgard, Christian Cooke, Tomas Arana, and Ed Westwick. 2013. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.] 
 
Rush [2013] [Ron Howard did a terrific job directing this underrated and dazzling true story about the rivalry between Formula One racers British James Hunt (nicely played by Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian Niki Lauda (played by scene-stealing Golden Globe nominee Daniel Bruhl from Inglorious Basterds and Good Bye Lenin!). Although they are bitter rivals, Hunt ironically helps Lauda recuperate when he almost loses his life in a devastating crash. Howard used many new film techniques to give audiences the true feeling of being in a Formula One race car doing 180 mph. Hemsworth (Thor, Snow White and the Hunstman) gives his best performance to date along with Bruhl's star making turn.  Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder, Natalie Dormer, and Stephen Mangan head the supporting cast. One of the best and most overlooked films of the year. Sure to join Grand Prix, Le Mans and Days of Thunder as one of the best racing films ever made. Highly recommended! Rated R. 123 minutes. Box Office: $27 million.]

DVDs:

About Time [Richard Curtis, who directed the beloved Christmas classic Love, Always, returned to the romantic comedy genre with this crowd-pleasing and charming fantasy starring Domhnall Gleeson as a young time traveler who decides to use his gift to find a girl friend but discovers it is a lot more difficult than he thought.  Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Tom Hollander, Lydia Wilson, and Lindsay Duncan also star. Highly Recommended!  2013. Rated R. 123 minutes. Box Office: $16 million.]

Baggage Claim [Paula Patton (2 Guns, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol) is as lovely as ever as a single beauty who vows to find a proper husband in 30 days traveling 30,000 miles. This romcom also features a fun cast: Derek Luke, Taye Diggs, Jill Scott, Trey Songz, Jenifer Lewis, Adam Brody, Djimon Honsou, Christina Milian, and Tia Mowry-Hadrict. Directed by David E. Talbert. 2013. Rated Pg-13. 96 minutes. Box Office: $22 million.]

Banshee Chapter, The [intriguing indie horror thriller starring Katia Winter as a journalist who teams with muckraking reporter Ted Levine to find a missing friend who was in a mind-altering experiment.  Their search reveals a terrifying government conspiracy. Michael McMillan, Monique Candelaria, and Jenny Gabrielle co-star. Blair Erickson directed. 2013. Rated R. 87 minutes.]

Burton & Taylor [Well-acted docudrama about the famous and tempestuous acting couple as they prepare to do a stage version of Noel Coward's Private Lives with volatile results. Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter give fine performances as the iconic couple, and Carter was nominated for a Best Actress in a TV film or miniseries Golden Globe. Greg Hicks and Jeff Mash co-star in this drama directed by Richard Laxton for the BBC . 2013. Unrated. 83 minutes.]

Cutie and the Boxer [Offbeat documentary about the rocky 40 year marriage between New York boxer Ushio Shinohara and wife Nonko, who tries to get out from under her overbearing husband's shadow. Directed by Zachary Heinzerling. 2013. Rated R. 82 minutes.] 

Dallas Buyers Club [Matthew McConaughey gives the best performance of his career in this drama loosely based on a true story of an electrician and hustler who does whatever it takes to get medication to AIDS patients when he himself is diagnosed with the disease. McConaughey is currently the favorite to win the Best Actor Oscar after winning the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, and other awards. Jared Leto, who plays his flamboyant cross-dressing assistant Rayon (who is apparently a fictional character according to news reports), has also won the same awards for Best Supporting Actor and is also considered a strong Oscar contender. The fine cast includes Jennifer Garner, Denis O'Hare, Steve Zahn, Michael O'Neil, Dallas Roberts and Griffin Dunne. McConuaghey has had a very interesting career that took awhile to catch fire (with A Time to Kill), then cooled down after doing too many so-so romantic comedies (The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Fool's Gold, etc.), and kicked back into red hot with 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer. In the last few years, he has made all the right career choices doing terrific work in edgy films like Killer Joe, The Paperboy, and Bernie and most recently in the superb HBO film noir TV  series True Detective. For his art, McConaughey also pulled a Robert De Niro by reportedly losing over 40 pounds for this film, which is no easy feat. Talented Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee (Café de Flore, The Young Victoria) directed this moving drama that is one of the best films of 2013 and is nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated R. 117 minutes. Box Office: $23 million.]

Escape Plan [Before jumping into the next The Expendables movie, Sylvester Stallone made this action thriller in which he plays a security expert who gets framed for a crime and get sent to a high security prison he designed.  Along with the help of fellow prisoner Arnold Schwarzenegger, he plots to break out of his own prison.  Although it is always fun seeing Sly and Arnold comparing muscles, the unusual supporting cast steals the film: Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Vincent D'Onofrio, Vinnie Jones and 50 Cent. Swedish director Mikael Hafstrom (Derailed, 1408) directed. 2013. Rated R.  115 minutes. Box Office: $26 million.]

Fifth Estate, The [Despite the tepid box office and mixed reviews, rising star Benedict Cumberbatch came out pretty much unscathed from this docudrama that was pretty much considered one of the biggest disappointments of 2013. Regardless of that, Cumberbatch (who gave great, critically acclaimed performances in  two of the year's best pictures, Star Trek Into Darkness and 12 Years a Slave, as well as BBC-TV's Sherlock: Season 3) gives a fine performance as the self-absorbed and prickly Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, whom some consider a hero and others a traitor for leaking confidential US government files. Another plus is the excellent supporting cast that includes Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, Carice Van Houten, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, and Moritz Bleibtreu. First rate director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, Gods and Monsters) directed this underrated political thriller that is definitely worth a look. At least it gets a decent 6.0 on IMDB. 2013. Rated R. 128 minutes. Box Office: $4 million.]

Free Birds [Hilarious animated comedy about two turkeys who travel back in time to get turkey off the holiday menu for good. Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, Dan Folger, Amy Poehler, George Takei, Colm Meaney, and Keith David provide the voices in this underrated family friendly comedy directed by Jimmy Hayward. 2013. Rated PG. 91 minutes. Box Office: $56 million.]

I Used to Be Darker [Good, cathartic coming of age drama about an Irish teenage girl runaway who goes to live with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore while their marriage is falling apart and her cousin is in crisis.  The changing dynamic of the family forces them to work through their troubled past to get to a brighter future. Starring Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Ned Oldham, and Kim Taylor. Matthew Porterfield directed. 2013. Unrated. 90 minutes.]

Lady Vanishes, The [2013] [After the success of BBC and PBS' remake of the early Alfred Hitchcock classic The 39 Steps, they decided to also do this solid redo starring Tuppence Middleton as a young woman who meets an older woman on a train and swears that she disappears even when no one will believe her. With the help of a dashing man, she uncovers a diabolical Balkan political plot. Unrated. 90 minutes.]

Lincoln at Gettysburg [aka Lincoln@gettysburg] [Fine PBS documentary about Abraham Lincoln's famous speech - how it came to be and its importance over the decades. 2014. Unrated. 60 minutes.]

McConkey [Stirring sports documentary timed for the Sochi Winter Olympics that tells the wstory of extreme skier Shane McConkey and the impact he made on the sport with his skill and humor. 2013. Unrated. 100 minutes.] 

Metallica: Through the Never [San Francisco's premiere heavy metal band Metallica and director Nimrod Antal (Predators) have created something of a rarity: one of the few rock'n'roll concert films that actually stands out and tries to do something new.  And it succeeds.  Unlike most concert films that present a straight-forward concert, this one intercuts an ongoing sci-fi story with the performance footage. The film follows a young Metallica roadie named Trip who is sent on an urgent mission during a show, but what seems like a simple errand turns into a fight for survival that might affect the entire universe.  The sci-fi angle definitely makes sense since the band is a big fan of the genre (lead guitarist and songwriter Kirk Hammett used to be a Video Room customer when we carried laser discs, and he was a big fan of sci-fi, horror and Twin Peaks). Hot newcomer Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) plays the lead, and the electrifying film received rave reviews (Rotten Tomatoes gave it a strong 78 and IMDB a solid 7.5). Recommended! 2013. Rated R. 92 minutes. Box Office: $4 million.]

Mother of George [Well-acted indie drama about Nigerian newlyweds living in New York and whose marriage soon encounters trouble when they find out they cannot conceive. Isaach De Bankole and The Walking Dead's Danai Gurira play the couple. Directed by Andrew Dosunmu. 2013. Rated R. 107 minutes.]

Nuit #1 [Well-reviewed Canadian drama/romance about two political opposites who sleep together the first night they meet and discover that they have a true animal attraction despite their ideological differences. Catherine de Lean and Dimitri Storoge star as the couple. Directed by Anne Edmond. 2012. Unrated. 91 minutes.[  

Romeo & Juliet [2013] [Italian filmmaker Carlo Carlei (Flight of the Innocent) directed this lavish remake of the famous William Shakespeare tragedy about a young couple who fall in love despite the fact that their families have a bitter ongoing feud.  This period costume version stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) and Douglas Booth (LOL) as the lovers and features Damian Lewis (Homeland), Laura Morante, Natascha McEhlone, Stellan Skarsgard, Christian Cooke, Tomas Arana, and Ed Westwick. 2013. Rated PG-13. 118 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Treme: Season 4 [The Final Season] [This bittersweet and poignant short final season wraps up the stories of the New Orleans Katrina survivors we have been following for four seasons through highs and lows. Starring Khandi Alexander, Rob Brown, Kim Dickens, Melissa Leo, Wendell Pierce, Clarke Peters, Lucia Micarelli, Steve Zahn, India Ennenga, and David Morse. Recommended! 2013. Unrated. Two separate rentals.]

White Queen, The [A lush and action-packed Starz miniseries that follows three very different but ambitious women - Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort, and Anne Neville - ruthlessly competing for the throne of 15th century England. Aneurin Barnard, Rebecca Ferguson, Amanda Hale, Rupert Graves, James Frain, Catherine Goodall, Janet McTeer, Faye Marsay, Max Irons, Ben Lamb, Tom McKay, Juliet Aubrey, David Oakes, and Eleanor Tomlinson star. This beautiful US-UK costume drama was nominated for 3 Golden Globes, including Best Miniseries or TV Movie.  2013. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.] 


Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

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