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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Monday, April 14, 2014

New Releases - April 15, 2014

Blu-rays:

Invisible Woman, The [2013] [Actor Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, The Grand Budapest Hotel) followed up his impressive feature film directing debut Coriolanus with this equally excellent drama playing writer Charles Dickens at the height of his career. Dickens, the demanding and difficult but brilliant author of such classics as Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, meets a young beauty (played by Felicity Jones) and falls in love with her, propelling him into a passionate but covert affair that would last until his death. Although it was only nominated for one Oscar (Best Costume Design), this sumptuous true period romance landed on many top ten lists and was nominated for several other prestigious awards. Both Fiennes and Jones give sterling performances. Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander also star. 2013. Rated R. 111 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Philomena [Heartwarming true story with a great performance by Judi Dench (Skyfall, Notes on a Scandal) as a woman who had a child as a young woman and had to give him up for adoption when she was forced to live in a convent. Fifty-nine years later, she goes on a difficult hunt for her with a cynical ex-BBC journalist played by Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge, Tropic Thunder), who also co-wrote and produced the acclaimed dramedy. Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) directed this hit, which is one of his most accessible films. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Actress and Adapted Screenplay. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes. Box Office: $38 million.]

Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The [2013] [Ben Stiller (Zoolander, Tropic Thunder) directed this underrated big budget epic remake of the classic Danny Kaye comedy. Stiller also plays the title character, a meek man who spends most of his routine life daydreaming about being the star in his own exciting adventurous and romantic personal movie. However, when he finds out that his job and his co-worker's job are threatened, he goes on a real-life globe-trotting adventure that fulfills his destiny. Stiller is at his best in this funny and clever re-working of the famous James Thurber story. In a clever touch, Stiller/Mitty works for "Life" magazine. As a director, he does a terrific job of turning the fanciful but difficult to adapt tale (the film has been in the works for years with Jim Carrey and Mike Myers previously attached to do the lead at various times) into a stunning big screen reality.  The fine supporting cast is also stellar: Kristin Wiig, Sean Penn, Shirley Maclaine, Adam Scott, and Kathryn Hahn. If you enjoy your romantic comedies with a touch of fantasy, you should check this out. Highly Recommended! Rated PG. 114 minutes. Box Office: $59 million.] 

DVDs:

Better Living Through Chemistry [Bay Area native Sam Rockwell (Moon, Iron Man 2) stars in this hilariously dark romantic comedy as a boring pharmacist with a harpy wife (played by True Detective's Michelle Monaghan) whose life is turned upside down when he meets a sexy trophy wife customer (super hot Olivia Wilde) and begins an affair fueled by sex, drugs and danger. Ray Liotta and Jane Fonda also star. Directed by Geoff Moore and David Posamentier. 2014. Unrated. 91 minutes.]

Black Nativity [A fine ensemble cast propels this inspirational drama starring Jennifer Hudson as a struggling single mom who send her son off temporarily to live with his strict grandparents and the change it makes in all of their lives. Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Jacob Latimore, and Mary J. Blige star. Directed by actress turned director Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou, Talk to Me). 2013. Rated PG. 93 minutes. Box Office: $8 million.]

Bletchley Circle, The: Season 2 [The WWII code breaking heroines return for Season 2 to solve more complex post war crimes. Starring Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Hattie Morahan, Sophie Rundle, and Julie Graham. 2014. Unrated. 2 separate rentals.]

Confession of Murder [Chilling Korean film noir in which a young man confesses to a series of murders after the statute of limitations expire. He writes a tell-all book and becomes a notorious celebrity and a target of many at the same time. Jung Jae-Young and Park Si-Hoo star. Directed by Byeong gil Jeong. 2012. Unrated. 119 minutes.]

Flowers in the Attic [2014] [This TV movie remake of the classic gothic horror story received very good reviews when it was shown on Lifetime and is considered an improvement over the original feature version.  The chilling story has a sexy mother (played by Heather Graham in one of her better recent roles) abandoning her four children after the death of her husband, forcing them to live with their nasty grandmother (Ellen Burstyn in a memorable villain role) who makes them live like prisoners in her attic. As they grow older, they create their own family unit but they remain haunted by a dark secret. Kiernan Shipka (who is famous for playing Don Draper's daughter Sally on Mad Men), Mason Dye, Ava Telek, Maxwell Kovach, Dylan Bruce, and Chad Willett also star.  Directed by Deborah Chow. Unrated. 86 minutes.]

Great Expectations [2013] [Well-acted new take on the classic Charles Dickens tale about a young orphan who inherits a fortune as a young man but can never have his true love because of her bitter guardian/heiress. Starring Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Holliday Crainger, Jason Flemyng, and Robbie Coltrane, Mike Newell, of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire fame, directed. Rated PG-13. 128 minutes.]

Interior. Leather Bar. [Bay Area actor-director James Franco continues to do fascinating and daring things with his multi-faceted career. Franco and co-director Travis Matthews (who also wrote the script) made this short unrated feature that was inspired by the explicit 40 minutes of gay hook-ups and sexual encounters that was edited from the controversial Al Pacino cop film Cruising that had Pacino going undercover to find a gay serial killer. This new twist reimagines what the edited footage was like via a film crew filming one wild night in gay leather bar and improvising while trying to find a balance between art and reality. Franco and Matthews also star along with Val Lauren, Brenden Gregory, Samantha Barrows, and Christian Patrick. IMDB amusingly lists its alternate title as "James Franco's Cruising." 2013. Unrated. 60 minutes plus a short by Franco.]  

Invisible Woman, The [2013] [Actor Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, The Grand Budapest Hotel) followed up his impressive feature film directing debut Coriolanus with this equally excellent drama playing writer Charles Dickens at the height of his career. Dickens, the demanding and difficult but brilliant author of such classics as Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, meets a young beauty (played by Felicity Jones) and falls in love with her, propelling him into a passionate but covert affair that would last until his death. Although it was only nominated for one Oscar (Best Costume Design), this sumptuous true period romance landed on many top ten lists and was nominated for several other prestigious awards. Both Fiennes and Jones give sterling performances. Kristin Scott Thomas and Tom Hollander also star. 2013. Rated R. 111 minutes. Box Office: $2 million.]

Mobius [Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin (The Artist, OSS 117-Cairo, a Nest of Spies) continues to choose interesting post-Oscar films like The Wolf of Wall Street and this exciting spy thriller. He plays a Russian operative who is obsessed with taking down a money laundering crime machine with the help of sexy banker Cecile De France. The problem is she has become a target, so he must use her as bait while protecting her until he can catch the criminal masterminds. Tim Roth, John Lynch, Emilie Dequenne, Aleksei Gorbunov, Brana Katic, and Wendell Pierce also star. Directed by Eric Rochant (Love Without Pity). 2013. Rated R. 103 minutes.]

Nut Job, The [Amusing animated family comedy about a squirrel who thinks he has gone to heaven when he discovers a nut store. He plans to rob it for his winter stash but soon discovers that its a front for a bunch of bank robbers, so he and his pals ironically plan to thwart the bank robbers from pulling off their heist. The fun celebrity voices include Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Brendan Fraser, Jeff Dunham, Gabriel Iglesias, Liam Neeson, Maya Rudolph, Stephen Lang, and Sarah Gadon. Worth a look for animation fans. The film was so successful that they are working on The Nut Job 2 as you read this. Directed by Peter Lepeniotis. 2014. Rated PG. 85 minutes. Box Office: $64 million.]

Philomena [Heartwarming true story with a great performance by Judi Dench (Skyfall, Notes on a Scandal) as a woman who had a child as a young woman and had to give him up for adoption when she was forced to live in a convent. Fifty-nine years later, she goes on a difficult hunt for her with a cynical ex-BBC journalist played by Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge, Tropic Thunder), who also co-wrote and produced the acclaimed dramedy. Stephen Frears (The Queen, High Fidelity) directed this hit, which is one of his most accessible films. The film was nominated for 4 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Actress and Adapted Screenplay. Highly Recommended! 2013. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes. Box Office: $38 million.]

Ride Along [Probably the biggest surprise box office success of 2014 so far, this wacky farce stars comic turned actor Kevin Hart as an overly earnest cop trainee who finally gets his wish to go on a ride along with detective Ice Cube, who happens to be his girlfriend's brother. Of course, Cube wants to show Hart that he's not cut out for the job, but they inadvertently find a notorious crime boss leading to lots of fireworks. Hart is white hot right now thanks to this huge hit and his scene-stealing role in Grudge Match. John Leguizamo, Bruce McGill, Tike Sumpter, and Laurence Fishburne also star. Of course, the film was so successful that they are working on Ride Along 2.  Tim Story (Barbershop, the Fantastic 4 films) directed. 2013. Rated PG-13. 99 minutes. Box Office: $134 million.]

Ripper Street: Season 2 [In this hit BBC TV crime series' sophomore season, Inspector Reid continues his difficult task of cleaning the nasty streets of Whitechapel even after Jack the Ripper has gone. Starring Matthew Macfadyen, Jerime Flynn, Adam Rothernberg, MyAnna Buring, and David Wilmot. 2014. Unrated. 3 separate rentals.]

Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The [2013] [Ben Stiller (Zoolander, Tropic Thunder) directed this underrated big budget epic remake of the classic Danny Kaye comedy. Stiller also plays the title character, a meek man who spends most of his routine life daydreaming about being the star in his own exciting adventurous and romantic personal movie. However, when he finds out that his job and his co-worker's job are threatened, he goes on a real-life globe-trotting adventure that fulfills his destiny. Stiller is at his best in this funny and clever re-working of the famous James Thurber story. In a clever touch, Stiller/Mitty works for "Life" magazine. As a director, he does a terrific job of turning the fanciful but difficult to adapt tale (the film has been in the works for years with Jim Carrey and Mike Myers previously attached to do the lead at various times) into a stunning big screen reality.  The fine supporting cast is also stellar: Kristin Wiig, Sean Penn, Shirley Maclaine, Adam Scott, and Kathryn Hahn. If you enjoy your romantic comedies with a touch of fantasy, you should check this out. Highly Recommended! Rated PG. 114 minutes. Box Office: $59 million.] 

Notes by manager Steven Y. Mori.

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