Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of October 30

New Releases:

The Campaign” (Warner) spoofs the election process with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis as rival candidates in a congressional race: Ferrell the scandal-riddled incumbent unused to competition and Galifianakis the prissy naïf with more enthusiasm than intelligence. It’s “exceptionally good at being cynically smart about the horrors it’s portraying, and gleefully vulgar and absurd about wringing laughs out of those horrors,” praises MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.

Zoe Kazan is “Ruby Sparks” (Fox), a fictional character brought to life by a young novelist (Paul Dano) as he works through his writer’s block by putting to paper his ideal romance, in the new comedy by “Little Miss Sunshine” directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.

Safety Not Guaranteed” (Sony) offers another indie romantic comedy, this one with  Aubrey Plaze, Mark Duplass, shaggy Pacific Northwest attitude and a time travel twist. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox.

Foreign features include the multi-cultural road movie “Americano” (Kino) from Mathieu Demy and starring Salma Hayk (Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand), Russian drama “Elena” (Zeitgeist) from director Andrei Zvyagintsev (DVD), and Norwegian coming-of-age film “Turn Me On, Dammit!” (New Yorker) (DVD).

Also check out the direct-to-disc horror films for October, including “Werewolf: The Beast Among Us” (Universal) and “Greystone Park” (Arc Entertainment), in the special Halloween edition of B-Sides.

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

Copper: Season One” (BBC), the first original drama created for BBC America, combines the historical crime show template so successful in Britain with the provocative period dramas proliferating on American cable. Tom Weston-Jones is the one good cop in Civil War-era New York City who, with his loyal partners, fights crime in the slums and in the halls of power and grapples with rampant corruption in the police department. More interesting than compelling, it’s a grim portrait of 19th century street life that stirs politics and sociology into the mix. 10 episodes plus commentary and featurettes. Blu-ray and DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

All in the Family: The Complete Series” (Shout! Factory) collects all nine seasons Norman Lear’s taboo-breaking, trend-setting sitcom, a genre that even at its best avoided ruffling any feathers. Lear had no such inhibitions, and he turned Carroll O’Connor’s blue-collar big mouth Archie Bunker into America’s favorite bigot. 213 episodes on 28 discs plus supplements. DVD only. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Coma” (2012) (Sony) reworks Robin Cook’s novel (and the 1978 film version) for the 21st century of medical experimentation and corporate ethics. Lauren Ambrose is the medical intern who stumbles on a conspiracy and the supporting cast includes Geena Davis, Ellen Burstyn, James Woods, and Richard Dreyfuss. DVD only, available at Redbox.

The Canadian fantasy series “Lost Girl: Season One” (Funimation) adds another entry to the burgeoning dark fantasy genre, this one with a succubus as its heroine (she feeds off other people) and a dark supernatural underworld hidden in human society. Blu-ray and DVD, 13 episodes.

Also new: “The Streets of San Francisco: Season 5, Volumes 1 & 2” (Paramount), the final season of the hit cop drama, and the Hallmark Channel TV movie “Love’s Christmas Journey” (Fox).

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

Rosemary’s Baby” (Criterion), Roman Polanski’s American directing debut and one of the most celebrated American horror films of all time, debuts in a newly remastered, director approved edition form Criterion. A coincidence it arrives on Halloween week? Blu-ray and DVD, with a new documentary, archival supplements, and a booklet with essays. Videodrone’s review is here.

Sidney Lumet directs “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (Olive), the 1962 screen version of Eugene O’Neill’s searing autobiographical play, with Katherine Hepburn, Sir Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell, and Jason Robards Jr. (reprising his stage role) in the cast. Blu-ray and DVD.

Three French thrillers from the sixties featuring international casts debut on Blu-ray and DVD: heist drama “Greed in the Sun” (Olive) with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Lino Ventura, World War II survival film “Taxi for Tobruk” (Olive) with Lino Ventura and Hardy Kruger, and caper movie “The Brain” (Olive) with Jean-Paul Belmondo and David Niven.

In keeping with the season, the MOD Movie round-up spotlights two Christopher Lee “Fu Manchu” movies of the sixties and Boris Karloff in “The Sorcerers.” Videodrone’s review is here.

Also check out the direct-to-disc horror films for October, including “Werewolf: The Beast Among Us” (Universal) and “Greystone Park” (Arc Entertainment), in the special Halloween edition of B-Sides.

All of the Cool and Classic here

Blu-ray Debuts:

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection” (Universal) collects 15 Hitchcock films on Blu-ray, 13 of them in their HD debut, including “Shadow of a Doubt,” “Rear Window,” “The Birds,” and the film recently anointed the Greatest Film Ever Made: “Vertigo.” They’re not all masterpieces in “The Masterpiece Collection,” but as they are all from the Master of Suspense, they all have their merits, and all are packed with supplements carried over from previous DVD releases. Videodrone’s review is here.

New on Netflix Instant:

The Artist” (2011), winner of five Academy Awards, is a valentine to silent movies and a celebration of the dreams and fantasies and magic of the movies of every age. If you love  classic movies, you owe it yourself to see this. Videodrone’s review is here.

More recent films now available on Netflix Instant: “Mirror Mirror” (2012), with Lily Collins as Snow White and Julia Roberts as the wicked stepmother, and “The Whistleblower” (2010), starring Rachel Weisz as a U.N peacekeeper who uncovers a conspiracy in Bosnia.

Bug” (2006), a claustrophobic drama of paranoia and breakdown from director William Friedkin, features a mesmerizing breakthrough performance by Michael Shannon.

New foreign releases include “Monsieur Lazhar” (2011), the big-hearted Canadian drama, and “I Wish” (2011), a gently benevolent tale from Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda.

Instant TV pick: “Sons of Anarchy: Season Four,” the terribly addictive drama of motorcycle outlaws in a small California town.

And if you’re looking for some Halloween viewing tips, check out these picks for the most enjoyable horrors on Netflix, including “The Thing,” “Slither,” “The Host,” and the original “Dracula.”

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

The election comedy “The Campaign” with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, indie romantic comedies “Ruby Sparks” with Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan and “Safety Not Guaranteed” with Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass, and “Americano” with Mathieu Demy and Salma Hayek.

Available from Redbox this week:

Arriving day and date with video stores is the indie romantic comedy “Safety Not Guaranteed” (Sony) and the cable mini-series “Coma (2012)” (Sony).

Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week: “Red Lights” (Millennium) on Blu-ray and DVD and the indie dramas “Take This Waltz” (Magnolia) with Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen and “The Sound of My Voice” (Fox) with Brit Marling

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.