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.

Hours:

Sunday-Thurday, 12pm-8pm
Friday-Saturday, 12pm-9pm


Email (Questions/Feedback/Requests):
info @ videoroomoakland.com

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

New Releases - March 4 and 7, 2014

Tuesday, March 4:

Blu-rays:

12 Years a Slave [One of the most honored films of 2013, this tragic, brutally raw and moving drama tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free and wealthy black man from New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War Louisiana. Although we have seen this subject matter onscreen before (most notably on TV in the two Roots miniseries and on the big screen in blaxploitation films like Mandingo and Quentin Tarantino's hilariously dark comic homage Django Unchained), this is probably the most realistic and unrelentingly violent depiction of what slavery was really like in the United States.  It may be too strong and harsh for some, but the film's impact is undeniable thanks to the uncompromising, docudrama style of British director Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger) and the superb performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Salt, American Gangster) as Northup and a terrific supporting cast that includes Lupita Nyong'o, Michael Fassbender, Michael K. Williams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, and Alfre Woodard. Despite its grim story, the controversial film is a necessary reminder of one of America's saddest periods in its relatively short history. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards, it just won three major Oscars: Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Nyong'o), and Adapted Screenplay.  Recommended! Rated R. 134 minutes. Box Office: $50 million.]

Grandmaster, The [Excellent version of the true story of Ip Man, the legend who trained Bruce Lee in martial Arts. Wong Kar Wai (In the Mood for Love, My Blueberry Nights) directed this glossy Chinese production starring Tony Leung in the title role and a stellar cast including Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Song Hye-kyo, Cung Le, Chen Chang, Zhao Beshan, Xiao Shenyang, Yuen Wo Ping, and Lau Ka Yung. Nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Cinematography and Costume Design. 2013. Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. Box Office: $7 million.]

Oldboy [2013] [Spike Lee has continued making controversial directing choices over the last several years, and this ultra-violent remake of the brutal Korean classic is no exception. The story follow a man obsessed with getting bloody vengeance and finding out why he was mysteriously imprisoned in a solitary cell for 20 years. Thankfully, Lee has cast the film effectively with cult stars, including Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, W.) in the lead and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fictions, Unbreakable), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Silent House), Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium), and Michael Imperoli (The Sopranos). Rated R. 104 minutes.]

DVDs:


12 Years a Slave [One of the most honored films of 2013, this tragic, brutally raw and moving drama tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free and wealthy black man from New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in pre-Civil War Louisiana. Although we have seen this subject matter onscreen before (most notably on TV in the two Roots miniseries and on the big screen in blaxploitation films like Mandingo and Quentin Tarantino's hilariously dark comic homage Django Unchained), this is probably the most realistic and unrelentingly violent depiction of what slavery was really like in the United States.  It may be too strong and harsh for some, but the film's impact is undeniable thanks to the uncompromising, docudrama style of British director Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger) and the superb performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Salt, American Gangster) as Northup and a terrific supporting cast that includes Lupita Nyong'o, Michael Fassbender, Michael K. Williams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Sarah Paulson, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, and Alfre Woodard. Despite its grim story, the controversial film is a necessary reminder of one of America's saddest periods in its relatively short history. Nominated for 9 Academy Awards, it just won three major Oscars: Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Nyong'o), and Adapted Screenplay.  Recommended! Rated R. 134 minutes. Box Office: $50 million.]

Beyond Outrage [Wild Japanese action flick with a great premise that recalls Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars: an anti-gang detective wants to use a rumored dead yakuza boss as bait to start a gang war that will wipe both factions out of existence.  Cult director-actor Beat Takeshi (Fireworks, Brother) directed and stars as the pivotal gangster in this sequel to 2010's Outrage. Co-starring Toshiyuki Noshida, Tomokazu Miura, Ryo Kase, Hideo Nakano, and Yutaka Matsushige. 2012. Rated R. 112 minutes.]

Free Fall [In this German drama, a young married policeman with a pregnant wife finds his life turned upside down when he falls in love with a fellow policeman. Starring Hanno Koffler, Katharina Schuttler, and Max Riemelt. Stephan Lacant directed. Some critics have called this the German Brokeback Mountain. 2013. Unrated. 100 minutes.]

Grandmaster, The [Excellent version of the true story of Ip Man, the legend who trained Bruce Lee in martial Arts. Wong Kar Wai (In the Mood for Love, My Blueberry Nights) directed this glossy Chinese production starring Tony Leung in the title role and a stellar cast including Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Song Hye-kyo, Cung Le, Chen Chang, Zhao Beshan, Xiao Shenyang, Yuen Wo Ping, and Lau Ka Yung. Nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Cinematography and Costume Design. 2013. Rated PG-13. 130 minutes. Box Office: $7 million.]

Hours [2013] [This disaster thriller/drama was one of the last films Paul Walker (The Fast and Furious, Running Scared) completed before his untimely death last year. He plays a father desperately trying to keep his newborn daughter alive during the Hurricane Katrina disaster in Louisiana.  Genesis Rodriguez, Nancy Nave, Shane Jacobson, and Lena Clark co-star. Eric Heisserer (The Thing, Final Destination 5) directed this underrated film that he also wrote.  Rated PG-13. 97 minutes.]

Oldboy [2013] [Spike Lee has continued making controversial directing choices over the last several years, and this ultra-violent remake of the brutal Korean classic is no exception. The story follow a man obsessed with getting bloody vengeance and finding out why he was mysteriously imprisoned in a solitary cell for 20 years. Thankfully, Lee has cast the film effectively with cult stars, including Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, W.) in the lead and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fictions, Unbreakable), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Silent House), Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium), and Michael Imperoli (The Sopranos). Rated R. 104 minutes.]

Rising from Ashes [Compelling sports documentary about cycling legend Jack Boyer as he moves to Rwanda to help the first Rwandan Cycling Team compete in the Olympics, and he and the participants find a renewed purpose in life. Directed by T.C. Johnstone. 2012. Unrated. 82 minutes.]

Somm [Fun and tart documentary about four sommeliers trying to pass the Master Sommelier test, one of the hardest in the world. Directed by Jason Wise. 2012. Unrated.]

Untold History of the United States, The [Excellent and surprising overview of the history of the US from WWII onward as only Oliver Stone (JFK, Nixon) can tell it...with plenty of twists and little known facts.  Even naysayers will be impressed with this stunning, well-researched and totally fascinating mini-series documentary that was shown on Showtime.  This expanded version even includes World War I. Highly Recommended! 2013. Unrated. Four separate rentals.]

Wicked Blood [Twisted thriller starring Abigail Breslin (The Call, Zombieland) and Alexa Vega (Spy Kids) as sisters who are mixed up in the Southern underworld thanks to their gangster uncle (Sean Bean). They try to get out of the life...with violent results. James Purefoy (The Following), Lew Temple, and Lindsay Duncan also star. Mark Young directed. 2014. Unrated. 90 minutes.]

Friday, March 7:

Blu-ray:

Hunger Games, The: Catching Fire [Get your crossbows and arrows ready! The second film in the exciting action series received even better reviews and was a bigger hit than the first film, The Hunger Games. White hot Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle)  and Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Center of the Earth, Bridge to Terabithia) return as working class heroes Katniss and Peeta as they go on a victory tour that becomes an obstacle course when their victory encourages people to rebel against the government, making them targets of the Capitol. The shifting political climate forces the government to provide a lethal twist in the next games.   The fine supporting cast includes Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone, Lenny Kravitz, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend).  Of course, the special effects are stunning as always, but Lawrence and Hutcherson also add more depth to their characters and relationship, making one anxious to see the upcoming final two films. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 146 minutes.  Box Office: $424 million.]

DVD:

Hunger Games, The: Catching Fire [Get your crossbows and arrows ready! The second film in the exciting action series received even better reviews and was a bigger hit than the first film, The Hunger Games. White hot Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle)  and Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Center of the Earth, Bridge to Terabithia) return as working class heroes Katniss and Peeta as they go on a victory tour that becomes an obstacle course when their victory encourages people to rebel against the government, making them targets of the Capitol. The shifting political climate forces the government to provide a lethal twist in the next games.   The fine supporting cast includes Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Jena Malone, Lenny Kravitz, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Directed by Francis Lawrence (Constantine, I Am Legend).  Of course, the special effects are stunning as always, but Lawrence and Hutcherson also add more depth to their characters and relationship, making one anxious to see the upcoming final two films. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 146 minutes.  Box Office: $424 million.]



Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

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