Feb 08 2013

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of February 5

New Releases:

Flight” (Paramount), starring Denzel Washington as a hero with a substance problem, received Oscar nomination for Washington as the alternately charmingly confident and ferociously selfish and self-destructive pilot, and for screenwriter John Gatins. The first live-action film by Robert Zemeckis is a decade is the kind of grown-up drama that the studios don’t often make anymore. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox. Videodrone’s review, with an interview with Oscar nominated screenwriter John Gatins,is here.

A Late Quartet” (Fox) stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, and Catherine Keener as members of an acclaimed string quartet facing the illness and retirement of one of its members. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.

Rashida Jones co-writes and stars in “Celeste and Jesse Forever” (Sony), an indie romantic comedy about a married couple (Jones and Andy Samberg) who try to remains friends during their divorce. DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox. Not quite so romantic is “Here Comes the Boom” (Sony) with Kevin James as a high school teacher who moonlights as a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money for his school. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox.

Alex Cross” (Summit), starring Tyler Perry (out of drag) as the police detective and profiler previously played by Morgan Freeman, is an utter train wreck of a thriller with Matthew Fox at least going for broke as a sadistic killer (Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox). Much better is the snow-blind crime drama “Deadfall” (Magnolia) with Eric Bana and Olivia Wilder as sibling thieves on the run in winter snows along the north border with Canada (Blu-ray and DVD).

Little White Lies” (MPI, Blu-ray and DVD), a kind of “Big Chill” reunion drama with Marion Cotillard, François Cluzet, and Jean Dujardin, arrives from France and new documentaries include “Side By Side” (New Video, Blu-ray and DVD) and “Paul Williams: Still Alive” (Virgil, DVD).

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

Southland: The Complete Second, Third, and Fourth Seasons” (Warner) is a return to the gritty, human, life-on-the-streets drama of uniform cops and detectives on the LAPD. TNT picked up the show after NBC cancelled it after a brief first season and kept it going with its core cast intact and sensibility intact. This set collects all the TNT seasons of the best cop show on television. 26 episodes on six discs on DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

With the American remake now available on Netflix, the original “House of Cards Trilogy” (BBC), starring Ian Richardson as the most seductively ruthless politician you’ve ever had the pleasure to watch claw his way to the top (over the corpses of his rivals), get a DVD rerelease and Blu-ray debut. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

From Britain comes the sitcom “Spy: Series One” (BFS), with Darren Boyd as a bumbling single dad who is inadvertently recruited at an agent for MI-5, and the mini-series “Public Enemies” (BFS) with Anna Friel and Daniel Mays. Both DVD.

Cougar Town: The Complete Third Season” (ABC), the final network season of the Courtney Cox sitcom, hits DVD before the fourth season debuts on TNT. And “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: 25th Anniversary Edition” (Athena) gets a new edition. DVD.

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

Cabaret: 40th Anniversary” (Warner) Bob Fosse’s superb adaptation of the Broadway musical, won eight Academy Awards, including Best Director for Fosse and Best Actress for Liza Minnelli. Fosse’s “divinely decadent” touch brings a garish energy to the music hall performances, all the better to counterpoint the growing power of the Nazi party seen in the margins of the story. It makes it Blu-ray debut in a new restoration, which is also used for the new DVD edition. Videodrone’s review is here.

Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” (Disney) marks the Blu-ray debut of the 1953 animated classic from Disney, which brings a sense of wonder, a dash of pixie dust, and first rate animation to J.M. Barrie’s timeless fantasy of the who wouldn’t grow up. Debuts on both a 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (with a bonus DVD) and a 3-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack (with bonus DVD and digital copy). Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Barbra Streisand produces and headlines the 1976 “A Star Is Born” (Warner), the third version of the Hollywood classic about a rising talent in love with a self-destructing star on his way down. Debuts on Blu-ray.

The Ballad of Narayama” (Criterion) is the original 1958 adaptation of the stories of Shichirô Fukazawa, directed by Keisuke Kinoshita. Blu-ray and DVD.

Also new on Blu-ray are the classics “How Green Was My Valley” (Fox), directed by John Ford; “Gentleman’s Agreement” (Fox) with Gregory Peck, and Elia Kazan’s “Wild River” (Fox) with Montgomery Clift.

On the manufacture-on-deman​d side of Fox Home Video, I review a batch of discs released over the past few months on 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives here.

All of the Cool and Classic here

New on Netflix Instant:

House of Cards,” the second original series produced for Netflix, launched on the subscription streaming video service on Friday, February 1. David Fincher produces and directs the first two episodes of the savage political satire starring Kevin Spacey as a congressman who takes a slash and burn approach to stepping up the political ladder. It is an impressive investment — $100 million for 13 serialized hours — and as impressive a production as you’ll find on the more extravagant cable shows. Videodrone’s review is here.

A big new batch of movies is now available on the streaming service, including a number of popular hits and award winners that need no review from me: “Top Gun” (1986), “The Karate Kid” (1984), “Terms of Endearment” (1983), “Ordinary People” (1980), and “Love Story” (1970). Here are some film you might not be so familiar with.

James Brooks directed stars Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt to Academy Awards in “As Good as it Gets” (1997), a romantic comedy for grown-ups.

Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel match wits and wills in “Holy Smoke” (2000), Jane Campion’s libidinous stew of sex and desire and power in the outback. Michael Almereyda’s “Hamlet” (2000) sets Shakespeare’s poetry in a vision of glass and steel in modern New York with Ethan Hawke as the brooding and sullen Prince.

David Cronenberg’s “eXistenZ” (1999), a virtual reality video game thriller, blurs the line between fantasy and reality, and “Tremors” (1990) is a lively monster movie with a spirited tongue-in-cheek attitude.

Newly available classics include the delirious “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) and the hard-edged British crime thriller “They Made Me a Fugitive” (1947).

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

The Oscar nominated “Flight” with Denzel Washington leads off a big week of new releases, including the drama “A Late Quartet” with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken and the comedies “Celeste and Jesse Forever” with Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg and “Here Comes the Boom” with Kevin James and Salma Hayek.

Also new is the thriller “Alex Cross” with Tyler Perry (out of drag) and Matthew Fox and the dramas “In Our Nature” and “The Playroom.”

Arriving in advance of disc is the documentary “Brooklyn Castle” and on Friday, February 8 (same day as theaters) comes the horror film “Would You Rather” with Brittany Snow and Jeffrey Combs.

Available from Redbox this week:

Arriving day and date with video stores is the Oscar nominated “Flight” (Paramount) with Denzel Washington, along with the comedy “Here Comes the Boom” (Sony) and the thriller “Alex Cross” (Summit), all on Blu-ray and DVD. The romantic comedy “Celeste and Jesse Forever” (Sony) and “So Undercover” (Millennium) with Miley Cyrus are available on DVD.

Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week is “The House at the End of the Street” (Fox) with Jennifer Lawrence and “Hit and Run” (Universal) with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, both on Blu-ray and DVD. And coming back to Redbox is the 2011 release “The Help” (Touchstone).

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Feb 01 2013

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of January 29

New Releases:

Hotel Transylvania” (Sony) – Adam Sandler reunites old friends (Kevin James, David Spade, Steve Buscemi) to fill out the mad monster party of this animated kids movie from the comedy star whose sense of humor has always tended toward the juvenile, not to say the sophomoric. So expect poop jokes along with the heartwarming lessons. Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, On Demand and at Redbox. Videodrone’s review is here.

Seven Psychopaths” (Sony) stars Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, and Christopher Walken in bloody black comedy of dognapping and retribution from director / writer Martin McDonagh. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand and at Redbox

One of the most acclaimed films from Sundance 2012, “Hello, I Must Be Going” (Oscilloscope) gives Melanie Lynskey the lead in a tale of a recent divorcée who moves back in with her parents and slips into an affair with a 19-year-old, just one of many bad decisions in this comic drama. DVD.

Citadel” (Flatiron) is a British horror about an agoraphobic single father fighting his illness and a hooded gang to protect his daughter. Blu-ray, DVD, and at Redbox. “Tales of the Night” (eOne), an animated film from France, celebrates stories, storytelling, and creativity. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.

Plus: The British horror film “The Awakening” (Universal) with Rebecca Hall and Dominic West (Blu-ray and DVD), the horror sequel “Paranormal Activity 4” (Paramount) (Blu-ray and DVD, On Demand and at Redbox), and the indie superhero thriller “All Superheroes Must Die” (Image) (Blu-ray and DVD).

You can check out the recent direct-to-disc and made-for-cable movies at the monthly “B-Sides” round-up here.

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

Pan Am: The Complete Series” (Sony), the short-lived network series set in the early sixties and built around a quartet of young stewardesses who revel in the opportunity to travel the world, has gorgeous stars (Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner, and Margot Robbie among them), a handsome evocation of the era, and a veritable fashion show of a wardrobe. Too bad the writing never rises above slick nighttime soap opera with a dash of cosmopolitan romance and Cold War spy thriller. 14 episodes on three discs on DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

Downton Abbey: Season 3” (PBS) is season of weddings and funerals, births and deaths, and an aristocracy stuck in the past dragged indignantly into the 20th century. The mix of wistful idealization of this world of privilege and ritual and wily critique of the aristocracy who embrace privilege as their duty and their right is so smooth it’s hard to separate one from the other. Which may be why it is such a success on both sides of the pond. Eight episodes plus the “Christmas Special” series finale on three discs on Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Misfits: Season Two” (BBC) continues the British series of troubled teens imbued with super powers with more dark stories of survival in a world gone feral, filled with violence, death, sex, bad decisions, and a wily gallows humor. 7 episodes on two discs, DVD.

Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season” (eOne), an original series made for Cinemax, is a lurid pulp crime show laden with sex, violence, and gratuitous nudity. The channel still earns its old nickname – Skin-emax. 14 episodes on three discs, DVD.

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

To celebrate its 90th Anniversary, Warner Home Video is releasing a series of big box sets. Some of them real big. In fact “Best of Warner Bros. 100 Film Collection” (Warner) weighs in as the biggest single box set released by a studio to date, with 100 films and two new documentaries on 50 discs, while “Best of Warner Bros. Best Pictures 20 Film Collection” (Warner) carves out 20 movies from that set that won the Academy Award for Best Picture (out of 22 winners) on 23 discs. Both DVD only, but there is also a Blu-ray box: “Best of Warner Bros. 50 Film Collection” (Warner). Videodrone’s review is here.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2” (Warner) completes the DC Universe animated original adaptation of Frank Miller’s landmark graphic novel with Peter Weller voicing old man Bat and Michael Emerson taking on The Joker. Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

The 1932 “White Zombie” (Kino), starring a divinely satanic-looking Bela Lugosi, is the first true zombie film. This bargain bin regular is remastered from a fine grain print and presented in digitally remastered and “raw” versions, the former clean and scrubbed of texture, the latter scratch and grainy and full of detail. Blu-ray and DVD

Kit Carson” (Hen’s Tooth), starring Jon Hall and Dana Andrews, is an old-fashioned western with great landscapes and a marvelous supporting turn by Ward Bond. DVD.

All of the Cool and Classic here

Blu-ray Debuts:

That Obscure Object of Desire” (Lionsgate) is the final film from Luis Bunuel, who was almost 80 when he completed this surreal story of love and obsession. His shock effects have mellowed but he’s as unpredictable as ever: he casts two different actresses (cool French model Carole Bouquet and sensual Spanish actress Angela Molina) to play the part of the ambiguous beauty pursued by patronizing bourgeois cad Fernando Rey. With bonus interviews.

The Duellists” (Shout! Factory), the feature debut of Ridley Scott, is a sumptuous period drama accomplished on a tiny budget. Based on a Joseph Conrad story, it stars Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine as officers in Napoleon’s army trapped in a cycle of duels that goes on so long the ostensible affront is long forgotten. With commentary and featurettes. Videodrone’s review is here.

Plus three 3D German undersea documentaries in 3D+standard editions: “Amazing Ocean” (Universal), “Fascination: Coral Reef” (Universal), and “Fascination: Coral Reef – Mysterious Worlds Underwater” (Universal).

Peruse all the new Blu-rays here

New on Netflix Instant:

Available on streaming before disc release is “Death of a Superhero” (2011), which is not a superhero picture, mind you, but a coming-of-age drama about a teenage boy dying of cancer. Ian Fitzgibbons directs and Andy Serkis stars as the therapist who tries to reach the angry young man. Reviews here.

Direct from disc release comes “Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft” (2012), a B-movie with show Booboo and Fivel Stewart as American teenage descendants of the fairy tale siblings, and “Breathing” (2012), the German drama of an orphan teen in a juvenile detention center.

Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story” (2012) is a second generation look at civil rights history from filmmaker Raymond De Felita and “The Giant Mechanical Man” (Tribeca) an indie romantic comedy with Jenna Fischer and Chris Messina.

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

The animated Adam Sandler family comedy “Hotel Transylvania,” the black comedy “Seven Psychopaths” with Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell, the British horror film “The Awakening” with Rebecca Hall and Dominic West, the horror sequel “Paranormal Activity 4,” and the action thriller “The Cold Light of Day” with Sam Worthington and Bruce Willis.

Arriving days after theatrical release is “Knife Fight” with Rob Lowe and Julie Bowen.

Debuting Friday, February 1 is “The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia,” same day as theaters, and “Wrong,” a comedy by Quentin Dupieux, in advance of theatrical release.

Available from Redbox this week:

Day and date with video stores is the animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania” (Sony) from Adam Sandler, the black comedy “Seven Psychopaths” (Sony) with Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell, the British indie horror “Citadel” (Flatiron) and the horror sequel “Paranormal Activity 4” (Paramount).

Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week is “Fat Kid Rules the World” (Arc), which arrived for sale and for rent in video stores last week.

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Jan 25 2013

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of January 22

New Releases:

End of Watch” (Universal), from writer / director David Ayer, adopts a found-footage / surveillance camera aesthetic for the story of two patrol officers and best friends (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña) on the mean streets of modern day Los Angeles. The crime drama takes some unexpected turns but the heart of the story is the byplay between these partners and buddies who have one another’s backs on and off the job. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and available at Redbox. Videodrone’s review and an interview with the director are here.

The Paperboy” (Millennium), Lee Daniels’ overheated crime thriller follow-up to “Precious,” is a swamp noir that courts an aggressively disreputable atmosphere of sordid sexuality and hothouse obsession, thanks in large part to a fearlessly trashy performance by Nicole Kidman. Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, and John Cusack co-star. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Fat Kid Rules the World” (Arc), the directorial debut of Matthew Lillard, adapts the young adult novel about a misfit kid who finds an identity when he forms a punk band. Roger Ebert calls it “smart and observant.” DVD.

For a Good Time, Call” (Universal) is a female buddy comedy starring Ari Graynor and Lauren Anne Miller as opposites who find common cause in a sex-phone business and “Keep the Lights On” (Music Box), from director Ira Sachs, is a drama of friends and lovers struggling through a relationship troubled by addiction. Both Blu-ray and DVD.

The Oscar-nominated documentary “Searching For Sugar Man” (Sony), the stranger-than-fictio​​ n story of a forgotten folk singer (Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, available at Redbox), headlines the non-fiction releases. The list also includes Wim Wenders’ dance documentary “Pina” (Criterion) (Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD) and the acclaimed “The Imposter” (Vivendi) (DVD). All reviewed here.

And Miike Takashi’s “Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai” (New Video), a remake of the classic samurai drama (Blu-ray and DVD), and the martial arts film “Tai Chi Zero” (Well Go) (Blu-ray and DVD), topline the foreign releases.

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

The Men Who Built America” (History), the eight-part miniseries about the industrialists and moguls who developed the modern industrial nation between the Civil War and World War I, is a documentary as melodrama: a look at the original robber barons building their empires as real-life J.R. Ewings more interested in crushing their opponents than building a vision. Blu-ray and DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

Twenty Twelve” (BBC) takes the mockumentary format of “The Office” for a comic look at the team charged with making the Olympics happen in London in 2012. Hugh Bonneville of “Downton Abbey” heads the cast and David Tennant narrates. DVD.

Also new this week: the documentary “The American Experience: The Abolitionists” (PBS) and the comic adventure series “Scarecrow and Mrs. King: The Fourth and Final Season” (Warner) with Kate Jackson and Bruce Boxleitner, both DVD only.

Breaking In: The Complete Series” (Sony Pictures Choice Collection), the short-lived sitcom with Christian Slater and Megan Mullally, and the 1970s TV movies “The Boy and the Plastic Bubble” (Sony Pictures Choice Collection) and “Wonder Woman” (Warner Archive) are among the TV shows recently featured in the latest MOD TV round-up.

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

The Quiet Man: 60th Anniversary” (Olive) presents an all-new edition of one of John Ford’s most beloved films, a sweet and sentimental drama with a rough-and-tumble humor, an earthy beauty, and a powerhouse pairing of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara romancing one another in a shamrock green Irish village full of blarney and charm. It’s been remastered from the original camera negative and looks absolutely gorgeous. Blu-ray and DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” (Shout! Factory), based on a novel by Nicholas Meyer, imagines the meeting between Sherlock Holmes (Nicol Williamson) and Sigmund Freud (Alan Arkin), and of course sends them on a mystery. Blu-ray+DVD Combo pack.

Indiscreet” (Olive), directed by Stanley Donen, reunites Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in a continental romantic comedy. Blu-ray and DVD.

Deadly Blessing: Collector’s Edition” (Shout! Factory) is the disc debut of the Wes Craven horror on both Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary and interviews.

Also new: Hal Hartley’s “Trust” (Olive), the Stephen King horror “Cujo” (Olive), the seventies sex comedy “The Sex Thief” (Kino), and three early John Wayne westerns, all Blu-ray and DVD.

All of the Cool and Classic here

Blu-ray Debuts:

Ivan’s Childhood” (Criterion), the debut feature by Andrei Tarkovsky, views the Russian front of World War II through the eyes of a boy who serves as a scout for the Russian soldiers. Also known as “My Name is Ivan,” the 1962 film debuts on Blu-ray in an edition featuring bonus interviews.

Hannah and Her Sisters (MGM), one of Woody Allen’s most popular films, arrives along with the sci-fi spoof “Sleeper” (MGM), one of his “earlier, funnier ones.”

Peruse all the new Blu-rays here

New on Netflix Instant:

The Switch” (2010), starring Jennifer Aniston as a single woman who decides to have a child via artificial insemination and Jason Bateman is her neurotic best friend who switches the selected donor sperm with his own, is “a better-than-you-fear​​ed example of the recent comedies revolving around reproduction,” according to MSN film critic James Rocchi.

5 Broken Cameras” (2012), a documentary on life in the West Bank, is a 2013 Oscar nominee and an award-winner at Sundance 2012.

From France comes “Unforgiveable” (2011), André Téchiné’s romantic thriller with André Dussolier and Carole Bouquet, and “17 Girls” (2011), which relocates a real-life American story to a small French town.

Lars and the Real Girl” (2007) stars Ryan Gosling as a shy child-man in a tale with a good heart, and Shane Carruth’s “Primer” (2004) is one of the most inventive time travel movies ever concocted.

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

Rough and ready L.A. cop drama “End of Watch” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña and hothouse swamp noir “The Paperboy” with Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, and Nicole Kidman.

Three documentaries also debut: the 2012 Oscar winner “Undefeated” (a month before disc), 2013 Oscar nominee “Searching for Sugar Man,” and the acclaimed “The Imposter.”

Arriving before theaters is “The End of Love,” a drama written and directed by Mark Webber and starring Webber, Shannyn Sossamon, and Michael Cera, and the comedy “Supporting Characters” with Alex Karpovsky and Tarik Lowe.

Available from Redbox this week:

Day and date with video stores: the hothouse swamp noir “The Paperboy” (Millennium) with Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron, and Oscar-nominated music documentary “Searching For Sugar Man” (Sony).

Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week is “Paranormal Activity 3” (Paramount), a week before the fourth installment arrives on home video.

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Jan 19 2013

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of January 15

New Releases:

To Rome With Love” (Sony) takes Woody Allen’s continental road show to Italy for a quartet of stories – really, more like extended skits – with an international cast, from Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg and Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page to Roberto Benigni and Penelope Cruz. Allen is refreshed with his sojourn in Europe and it doesn’t hurt to have the beauty of the Rome as the gorgeous backdrop to his comic romances and dizzy farce. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox. Videodrone’s review is here.

Taken 2” (Fox) finds retired CIA agent Liam Neeson facing the blowback from his actions in the first “Taken” as his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace) are targeted on a vacation in Istanbul. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.

Won’t Back Down” (Fox) stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Rosie Perez as concerned parents who take on the failing school system. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgewick star in “The Possession” (Lionsgate), a horror film built on a Jewish legend (Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand, available at Redbox), and “Branded” (Lionsgate) is a sci-fi thriller about corporate mind control starring Ed Stoppard, Leelee Sobieski, and Jeffrey Tambor (Blu-ray and DVD, available at Redbox).

Foreign films arriving this week include “Farewell, My Queen” (Cohen) with Léa Seydoux and Diane Kruger (Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand) and “17 Girls” (Strand) (DVD), both from France.

And documentaries this week include Oscar nominee “5 Broken Cameras” (Kino Lorber) (DVD), “The Other Dream Team” (Lionsgate) (DVD), and “Detropia” (Docurama) (DVD and On Demand).

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

Men of a Certain Age: The Complete Second Season” (Warner), starring Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher as college buddies facing fifty with the realization that they aren’t where they want to be, was a light drama with a low-key charm and easy chemistry. The TNT original series had a small but strong following. 12 episodes on three discs on DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

Life’s Too Short: The Complete First Season” (HBO), created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, reworks their mockumentary format to spoof the career of Warwick Davis, star of “Willow” now on hard times, or so this seven-episode series claims. DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Animated Series” (DreamWorks Classics) is quite the nostalgia release: all 23 episodes of the 1971 -1972 Saturday morning cartoon series produced by Rankin/Bass, with 46 songs. Blu-ray+DVD combo pack. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Plus 15 episodes of “Perry Mason: Season 8, Volume 2” (Paramount) and new seasons of the British shows “Being Human: Season Four” (BBC), “Merlin: The Complete Fourth Season” (BBC), and “Waking the Dead: Season Seven” (BBC), all on DVD.

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

Wake in Fright” (Image), a brutal, blackly funny thriller of an urban schoolteacher (Gary Bond) in the sun-blasted Australian Outback where his veneer of culture crumbles when he gets stranded in the grimy mining town of Bundanyabba, where he unravels in non-stop drink and kangaroo hunts. This 1971 film was thought lost for years but was recently rediscovered, restored, and re-released. Drafthouse Films presents the American release. Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary, featurettes, and other supplements. Videodrone’s review is here.

The original “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (Criterion), Alfred Hitchcock’s first international thriller of innocents caught up in the intrigue of spies and killers, set the template for the romantic thrillers that made his name. Previously available in substandard versions, it’s been remastered by Criterion for a special edition on Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

The Tin Drum” (Criterion), Volker Schlondorff’s 1979 adaptation of Gunter Grass’ acclaimed novel, was cut on its American release. Criterion releases a special edition of the director’s cut, which was restored in 2010, with new and archival supplements on Blu-ray and DVD.

King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis” (Kino) presents the complete 1970 documentary, restored to its original three-hour running time. Two discs on DVD.

The weekly MOD movies report looks at a collection of movies previously available in box sets only, now in a la carte editions.

All of the Cool and Classic here

Blu-ray Debuts:

Our Man Flint” (Twilight Time), starring James Coburn as secret agent Derek Flint, was one of the many spy movie spoofs that followed in the success of the James Bond films, and one of the best. This is the rare Twilight Time release packed with supplements, including commentary and featurettes, in addition to their trademark isolated musical score.

Experiment in Terror” (Twilight Time) is a lean, taut thriller from Black Edwards, starring Glenn Ford as an FBI matching wits with a brilliant kidnapper with a penchant for playing games.

Jackie Chan Double Feature: Crime Story / The Protector” (Shout Factory) presents one of Jackie’s rare dramatic action films, the sober cop thriller “Crime Story” (1993), along with an older American co-production, on a single disc.

Peruse all the new Blu-rays here

New on Netflix Instant:

The Lorax” (2012), the animated feature based on the fable-like storybook by Dr. Seuss, is the big New Release of the week, but there are more interesting films.

Mon-Rak Transistor” (2001), an offbeat and colorful film from Thailand’s Pen-ek Ratanaruang, is a cautionary comic tragedy of show-biz dreams with old-fashioned musical numbers and unexpected diversions. And it is not available on disc.

My Sucky Teen Romance” (2011) is a high school horror comedy from a 17-year-old writer/director. Walter Hill’s “The Warriors” (1979) comes out to play with funky comic book energy and Michael J. Fox stars in Peter Jackson’s Hollywood debut “The Frighteners” (1996).

The Instant TV highlight is “Being Human: Season Two,” the most recent season of the American incarnation of the TV series about supernatural roommates trying to live human lives.

Plus: the all-star disaster movie “Earthquake” (1974), the spy movie spoof “In Like Flint” (1967), and the fast, funny, and foul minor league sports comedy “Slap Shot” (1977).

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love” starring Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page, Penelope Cruz, and Rome, the action thriller “Taken 2” with Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace, the horror film “The Possession” with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick, and “Won’t Back Down” with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis.

Also new: “Farewell, My Queen” from France and the documentary “Detropia.”

Available months in advance of disc is the award-winning documentary “The House I Live In” from Eugene Jarecki.

Available from Redbox this week:

Day and date with video stores: Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love” (Sony) and the horror film “The Possession” (Lionsgate), both on Blu-ray and DVD, and the science fiction thriller “Branded” (Lionsgate) on DVD only.

Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week: Tim Burton’s Oscar-nominated animated feature “Frankenweenie” (Disney), the college musical “Pitch Perfect” (Universal), family comedy “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days” (Fox), and the TV mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys” (Sony) with Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton.

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Jan 15 2013

‘Tomorrow is Another Day’ on TCM

The fugitive couple on the run is a classic film noir trope, a situation steeped in romance and desperation and dreams and doom, from Fritz Lang’s tormented lovers in the proto-noir You Only Live Once (1937) to the innocence trampled in They Live by Night (1948) to the l’amour fou detonated in Gun Crazy (1950).

Tomorrow Is Another Day is a low-key take on the situation starring Steve Cochran as Bill Clark, a 34-year-old man who leaves prison after serving more than half his life behind bars, and Ruth Roman as Cay, a hard-shell dame at a dime-a-dance joint mixed up with a corrupt cop. A bad bounce of fate sends both of them on the road, two strangers tossed together on the run from a murder rap as. The story could have easily slipped into the cliche of the innocent corrupted by the predatory femme fatale, but there’s much more to both characters in this unassuming thriller directed by Felix Feist.

Ex-con and social naif Bill is a lamb in an urban culture of wolves (“I guess I’m the patsy this time,” he mumbles, resigned to getting the short end of every situation) and Cay has been hardened by years of getting knocked around and making a living off her looks. Both are slow to trust, but once they start, it softens both of their shells and inspires both of them to tough out a hard life of manual labor rather than turn back to their previous lives. For a film in the bleak culture of noir, it’s one of the more hopeful portraits of love among the damned.

Continue reading at TCM

Plays on Turner Classic Movies on Thursday, January 17

Jan 11 2013

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of January 8

New Releases:

Frankenweenie” (Disney), Tim Burton’s adolescent twist on the classic story, sends a schoolboy Victor Frankenstein into his attic lab to bring his beloved pet dog back to life. Burton mixes in a love of horror movies with an innocently ghoulish sense of humor and harmless gross-out gags, capturing that childhood fascination with monster movies and the macabre in a story full of heart and soul and a film alive with stop-motion magic. Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, and On Demand. Videodrone’s review is here.

Dredd” (Lionsgate), the second screen version of the satirical British comic book of merciless lawmen in a violent future, is a brutal, blood-spattered action film of a dystopian future where life is cheap and cops are also judge, jury, and executioner – and they’re the good guys. Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, and Lena Headey star. Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, On Demand and at Redbox. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Compliance” (Magnolia), the button-pushing, “based on a true story” drama starring Ann Dowd as a fast food manager manipulated into abusive behavior, stirred aggressive reactions in both festival screenings and theatrical showing. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.

Samsara” (MPI) – Ron Fricke’s five-years-in-the-ma​​ king visual essay, shot across the globe on 70mm film, contrasts the impersonal technology and culture of modern society with the serenity and spiritualism of rural life and Eastern religion. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.

The White Meadows” (Global Lens), from Iran, is a visually striking yet startlingly bleak odyssey through a metaphorical Iran of medieval practices and brutal oppression. Farsi with English subtitles. DVD only. Videodrone’s review is here.

Also new this week: the horror film “House at the End of the Street” (Fox) with Jennifer Lawrence and the action comedy “Hit and Run” (Universal) with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard (both Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand), and the indie romantic drama “Jack and Diane” (Magnolia) with Juno Temple (Blu-ray and DVD).

Other foreign arrivals this week include the Spanish thriller “Sleep Tight” (Dark Sky) from Jaume Balaguero (Blu-ray and DVD) and the Finnish comedy “Lapland Odyssey” (Artsploitation) (DVD only).

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

Smash: Season One” (Universal), a drama set around the creation of a (wholly fictional) Broadway production of a musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe, gets high marks for convincingly ready-for-the-big-ti​​ me original showtunes (thanks to the songwriting team of movie, TV, and Broadway veterans Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman) and a cast filled with stage-seasoned performers along with the TV vets. The rest of the show warbles between contrived backstage drama and soap opera silliness. 15 episodes on four discs on DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

In “Anger Management: Season One” (Lionsgate), Charlie Sheen’s sitcom comeback, he plays an anger management counselor, sort of a Bob Newhart reconceived as a horny single dad still trying to keep the rage-aholic under control. It’s a perfectly familiar sitcom format made for FX, but Sheen is in his element. 10 episodes, Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

There’s more debut seasons rolling out this week, from HBO’s acclaimed “Enlightened: The Complete First Season” (HBO) with Laura Dern to the cable reboot of the iconic nighttime soap “Dallas: The Complete First Season” (Warner) with Larry Hagman to the Showtime sitcom “Episodes: The Complete First and Second Seasons” with Matt LeBlanc.

Game Change” (HBO), the HBO original movie about the stranger-than-fictio​​ n drama of the Sarah Palin circus of the 2008 election, won five Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Actress for Julianne Moore’s amazing incarnation of Palin, Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, and awards for direction and writing. Blu-ray and DVD. Less acclaimed is “Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden” (Anchor Bay), which debuted on the National Geographic Channel. Blu-ray and DVD.

The Hour: Season Two” (BBC) ups the ante of the superb British series about a BBC news hour in the 1950s with a government conspiracy and a new team member and “Archer: The Complete Third Season” (Fox) continues the adventures of Sterling Archer (code name: Duchess) in the FX animated cult hit. Both on DVD and Blu-ray.

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

Four classic movies by John Brahm, including “Let Us Live” (Sony Pictures Choice Collection) with Maureen O’Sullivan and Henry Fonday, and the film noirs “The Locket” (Warner Archive) and “The Brasher Doubloon” (20th Century Fox Cinema Archives), are now available thanks to manufacture-on-deman​​d discs. Videodrone’s review is here.

Blu-ray Debuts:

The Jazz Singer” (Warner), a hybrid silent film with synchronized sound sequences, is the film that turned sound film from a gimmick to the industry standard. It’s absurdly maudlin, a creaky story of modern American son (Al Jolson) with “jazz music” in his soul banished from home by his old-world Cantor father (Warner Oland), but Jolson is marvelous and his impromptu dialogue in two scenes was as thrilling to audience as his musical numbers. The 3-Disc Blu-ray debut is filled with supplements, including commentary, documentaries, and archival sound shorts. Videodrone’s review is here.

Two-Lane Blacktop” (Criterion), the great American existential road movie, ostensibly follows a cross-country contest between a pair of street-racers (James Taylor and Dennis Wilson) and a middle-aged drifter (Warren Oates) in a GTO, but the roads they follows go everywhere and lead nowhere and they can’t work up enough speed to escape themselves. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Two classic Oscar winners: “Grand Hotel” (Warner), Best Picture of 1932, is a star-studded production with Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Lewis Stone, and Jean Hersholt, and “Mrs. Miniver” (Warner), a rousing wartime drama of life in rural England during Hitler’s siege, won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), and Best Actress (Greer Garson).

Peruse all the new Blu-rays here

New on Netflix Instant:

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (2011), the fourth in the big screen series with Tom Cruise as agent Ethan Hunt and the first live-action film from animation auteur Brad Bird, is brisk, spirited, clever, and more fun than it ought to be. Videodrone’s review is here.

Blue Valentine” (2010) stars Michelle Williams in an Oscar-nominated performance opposite an equally intense and committed Ryan Gosling as young marrieds in an unraveling relationship. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Aaron Johnson plays the young John Lennon in “Nowhere Boy” (2009) and Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones are “The Company Men” (2010) in the drama of life in the recession.

Family friendly drama includes “October Sky” (1999) and “Searching for Bobby Fischer” (1993), a pair of intelligent and inspiring dramas about smart kids who continue to challenge themselves.

And new Instant TV offerings include the 2012 cable mini-series “World Without End,” the 1998 science fiction miniseries “Invasion: Earth,” and the brilliant comedy “Fawlty Towers,” created by and starring John Cleese.

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

Tim Burton’s animated family comedy “Frankenweenie” and the brutal action film “Dredd” are both available in 3D as well as standard editions.

Also arriving same day as disc: the horror film “House at the End of the Street” (Fox) with Jennifer Lawrence, the action comedy “Hit and Run” (Universal) with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, the controversial indie drama “Compliance,” and the visual essay “Samsara.”

Debuting On Demand in advance of theater is the comedy “Charles Swan” with Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray, and same day as theaters (on January 11) is the documentary “Sellebrity” with Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lopez.

Available from Redbox this week:

Arriving day and date with video stores is “Dredd” (Lionsgate), on Blu-ray and DVD, the indie drama “Now is Good” (Sony), and the British comedy “The In-Betweeners Movie” (Lionsgate).

Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week: the animated feature “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (Fox), the talking teddy bear comedy “Ted” (Universal), and the Bourne sequel “The Bourne Legacy” (Universal) with Jeremy Renner.

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Jan 06 2013

‘Seven Thieves’ on TCM

A disparate collection of crooks, small-time hustlers, and disreputable characters knocking around Monte Carlo are brought together to rob a casino in an elaborate heist in Seven Thieves (1960), an unshowy caper film from Hollywood veteran Henry Hathaway. Edward G. Robinson plays the mastermind of the job, Theo Wilkins, a once-respected scientist whose career foundered after serving time for theft, and Rod Steiger plays his loyal friend, partner, and right hand Paul Mason, a sophisticated career criminal brought over by Theo to run the untrustworthy crew.

The film was promoted by Fox as “Little Caesar meets Al Capone,” referring to the pairing of old school gangster star Robinson with method actor (and Al Capone star) Steiger. In fact, Theo is much closer to another Robinson role from his gangster past: The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938), where Robinson’s titular doctor joins a criminal gang to research his book and ends up plotting their robberies. Theo could be Clitterhouse twenty years later, an old pro more interested in the mechanics and execution of the perfect plan than the money.

Joan Collins plays the key to their scheme, a stripper in a second-rate nightclub where the nervous assistant director of Monte Carlo’s biggest casino arrives nightly to watch her dance, and Eli Wallach is her mentor and mother hen Poncho, who blows the saxophone (and at one point becomes a partner in her routine) in the club’s jazz combo. The team is filled out by Michael Dante as the grinning safecracker, Berry Kroeger as the driver and team muscle, and Alexander Scourby as the reluctant partner inside the club, the casino assistant director pressured by Collins to be their inside man.

Continue reading at TCM

Plays on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday, January 8

Jan 04 2013

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of January 1

New Releases:

Cosmopolis” (eOne), David Cronenberg’s vivid adaptation of Don Delillo’s massive novel, distils the tome down to a two-hour odyssey through a long day drive in a space shuttle of a limousine creeping through the gridlock of an anonymous New York City. Robert Pattinson, perfectly disaffected in a mix of boredom and anxiety, plays financial kingpin Eric Packer, whose grand market gamble is the beginning of his self-destruction, and Juliette Binoche, Samantha Morton, Jay Baruchel, Mathieu Amalric, and Paul Giamatti co-star. It’s a savage satire of modern life under a cool surface of steel and glass and electronic screens, a bubble from which we watch the world disintegrate outside, and one of the best and most challenging films of 2012. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Videodrone’s review is here.

Looper” (Sony) is the smartest science fiction thriller of 2012. On the surface a clever collision of killer-for-hire action and time-travel conundrum, Rian Johnson’s juiced-up genre blast ostensibly pits a callow young executioner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) against his future self (Bruce Willis), come back in time to change his future. Johnson’s creative approach to a familiar genre elements, however, is simply our entry into a superb character drama, with Gordon-Levitt doing a brilliant Willis and Willis as a dead man walking who remains just as self-involved decades on. Emily Blunt provides fierce support, as usual. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Also new this week: the indie comedy “The Trouble with Bliss” (Anchor Bay) with Michael C. Hall, Chris Messina, and Lucy Liu, and the documentary “Putin’s Kiss” (Kino Lorber), a snapshot of the volatile political culture in contemporary Russia.

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

Justified: The Complete Third Season” (Sony) continues one of the best cable dramas on TV with a new season that pits Timothy Olyphant’s slaw-talking, quick-shooting, self-destructive U.S. Marshall against a carpetbagger of a Chicago crime lieutenant (Neal McDonough, all smooth and smarmy sadism) trying to set up his own drug empire in Kentucky. This series features some of the best and most vivid characters on TV, notably Walton Goggins as philosophical backwoods crime boss Boyd Crowder. 13 episodes on Blu-ray and DVD. Videodrone’s review is here.

Being Human: The Complete Second Season” (eOne), the American incarnation of the original British series about a vampire (Sam Witwer), a werewolf (Sam Huntington), and a ghost (Meaghan Rath) who become roommates in a Boston house, holds its own just fine with its inspiration as it stakes out its own identity this season, with its tale of the vampire mafia, possessed souls, and ghost madness. 13 episodes on Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Trial & Retribution: Set 6” (Acorn) features the final four feature-length episodes of the British crime series created by Lynda La Plante.

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

Two uniquely British comedians are celebrated in a pair of double features.

Will Hay Double Feature Vol. 1: Boys With Be Boys / Where There’s a Will” (VCI) features two comedies from the thirties featuring the music hall star turned screen comedian playing variations on his stage characters. “Norman Wisdom Double Feature Vol. 1: Trouble in Store / One Good Turn” (VCI) presents the two breakthrough hits for the West End funnyman turned screen comedy superstar. Both on single discs DVD editions.

All of the Cool and Classic here

New on Netflix Instant:

Jeff, Who Lives at Home” (2011), a quirky comedy starring Jason Segal, Ed Helms, and Susan Sarandon, is one of two films from filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass no available. The other is the low-budget indie comedy “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon” (2012).

Daniel Auteuil directs and stars in “The Well-Digger’s Daughter” (2011), an adaptation of Marcel Pagnol’s novel about a widowed father raising six girls in rural France in the years between the World Wars. It arrives days after its disc debut. Other new releases include “Red Lights” (2012) with Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, and Robert De Niro, and Todd Solondz’s “Dark Horse” (2011) with Jordan Gelber and Selma Blair.

The documentary “How to Survive a Plague” (2012), which placed on the MSN Top Ten Films of 2012 compilation, arrives on Netflix Instant in advance of disc.

Two past Oscar winners: “The Hours” (2002), with Best Actress Nicole Kidman and co-starring Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep, and “The Usual Suspects” (1995), directed by Bryan Singer from an Oscar winning script by Christopher McQuarry.

Plus: Mike Leigh’s “Topsy-Turvy” (1999), the Coen Bros.’s “Miller’s Crossing” (1990), and Brian DePalma’s “The Untouchables” (1987).

Instant TV offerings include “Wallander: Series 1-3” with Kenneth Branagh, Steven Moffat’s Britcom “Coupling: Seasons 1-4,” and “The West Wing: Seasons 1-7

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

Looper,” the inventive time-travel thriller with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, is available same day as DVD.

The Other Dream Team,” the documentary about the fledgling basketball team from the newly independent nation of Lithuanian at the 1992 Olympics, debuts On Demand before disc. Reviews here.

Best of 2012:

Click here for Videodrone’s Best Disc DebutsBest Blu-ray Releases, Best TV on Disc, and Best MOD Releases and Notable Achievements for 2012

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Dec 29 2012

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for Christmas Week

Christmas week is traditionally a small week for home video releases. Which is fine for me, as (like most of you) I’m off celebrating the holidays with family and friends. So rather than break up the few titles up as usual, I’ll present the entire week (plus a couple of stragglers that arrived late in the year) in a single post. Merry Disc-mas.

New Releases:

The Words” (Sony) weaves stories within stories. Bradley Cooper plays an aspiring author and Zoë Saldana his supportive wife, but are they real or simply characters in a novel by Dennis Quaid, and what is the connection between fiction and reality in the story contained in the novel within the novel, and the old man (Jeremy Irons) who claims the story as his own life?

“In theory, this sort of ambition is entirely laudable,” ponders MSN film critic Glenn Kenny. “The problem is with the three nested stories themselves, which, when you come right down to it, are treacly variations on what a not-too-inventive Nicholas Sparks enthusiast might imagine to be Hemingway-esque.” Brian Klugman and Lee Sternhal write and direct, and Olivia Wilde co-stars.

DVD and Blu-ray, with two featurettes and an “Extended Special Edition” of the film with six minutes of additional footage. The Blu-ray also features two “In-Depth Character Profiles.” Also available On Demand and at Redbox.

Daniel Auteuil directs and stars in “The Well-Digger’s Daughter” (Kino Lorber), an adaptation of Marcel Pagnol’s novel about a widowed father raising six girls in rural France in the years between the World Wars. It’s a fitting directorial debut for Auteuil, who became a star after acting in the two-part Pagnol adaptation “Jean de Florette” and “Manon of the Spring,” and he seems to connect with Pagnol’s sensibility here. “To call “The Well Digger’s Daughter” an old-fashioned film is to pay it a compliment,” praises Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert. “Here is a love story embedded in traditional values.”

In French with English subtitles. Blu-ray and DVD, with a stills gallery.

Backwards” (Phase 4) stars Sarah Megan Thomas as a would-be Olympic rower who becomes a high-school after failing to make the team, and James Van Der Beek is the old flame she reconnects with along the way. “Van der Beek knows how to act for the camera,” observes Philadelphia Inquirer film critic Carrie Rickey. “Thomas, a stage actress, is sympathetic but unemphatic. In their scenes together, he emerges and she blurs.” DVD only, with a featurette.

Apart” (SystemX Media) is a romantic thriller about two lovers (Olesya Rulin and Josh Danziger) linked by a rare psychological disorder, “madness of two,” inspired by actual case histories, or so writer / director Aaron Rottinghaus tells us. Blu-ray+DVD combo, which features commentary, deleted scenes, and behind the scenes footage, is available directly from the film’s website and Facebook page. Reviews here.

TV on Disc:

Tosh.0: Deep V’s” (Paramount), volume two of the Comedy Central series hosted by comedian Daniel Tosh, presents 16 episodes of Tosh presenting awkward, embarrassing, and unusual video posted on the web for all to see. Tosh sorts through it so you don’t have to, and offers commentary (appropriate and not) for every clip. Features extended interviews, an extended skit, and the uncut 24-minute “Human Centipede” spoiler. On Blu-ray (two discs) and DVD (three discs).

Tosh.0: Cardigans plus Casual Jackets” (Paramount) collects 15 episodes plus supplements on three discs, on DVD only. This volume is available only at Walmart.

Cool and Classic:

A Man Vanishes” (Icarus) is actually just one of six documentaries directed by Japanese master Shohei Imamura between 1967 and 1975 in this four-disc set. Previously unreleased in this country, the films were acquired by Icarus and screened in special programs in the U.S. this year, and now debut on DVD. Two-time Palm D’or winner Imamura is known for his fiction films. This set introduces Americans to this vital period of his filmmaking with six films focused on exiles and citizens alienated from society.

“A Man Vanishes” (1967) merges documentary and fiction in a profile of an ordinary salaryman who has gone missing, Following up this case, arbitrarily plucked from police files, Imamura teams up with the man’s abandoned fiancée to uncover what motivated him to disappear. “If “A Man Vanishes” — a movie about a disappearance and the transformation of reality into an ever more mercurial mystery, a vertiginous drama and the very stuff of cinema — played at the Cannes Film Festival this year, it would have been hailed as a thrilling discovery,” exclaims New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis. “Seemingly banal in its conceit, wildly startling in its execution, it tracks a film crew that, like a detective squad, investigates what became of an ordinary man.”

The “bonus documentaries” in the set focus on disappearances of another kind: exile and estrangement from home and society. “In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Malaysia” and “In Search of the Unreturned Soldiers in Thailand,” both 1971, are investigations of Japanese soldiers who deserted the army in World War II and remained in Southeast Asia, “Outlaw-Matsu Comes Home” (1973) is a portrait of a returning soldier, and “The Pirates of Bubuan” (1972) is a study of rival factions of pirates in the Philippines. The feature-length “Karayuki-San, the Making of a Prostitute” (1975), called “the most brilliant and feeling of Imamura’s fine documentaries” by Joan Mellen, profiles another exile: Kikuyo Zendo, a Japanese woman kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery to service Japanese soldiers in Southeast Asia, who refused to return to Japan and tells her experiences frankly to Imamura and his camera.

Japanese with English subtitles. Includes a 12-page booklet with an essay and notes on the filmmaker and the films.

Trailer War” (Drafthouse Films) collects almost two hours of strangest, wildest, and most extreme trailers from the Drafthouse vaults. Blu-ray+DVD combo pack also features commentary by Alamo Drafthouse programmers Lars Nilsen and Zack Carlson, and interview with filmmaker and genre hound Joe Dante, and a featurette on the American Genre Film Archive. Available directly from the Drafthouse Films website.

New on Netflix Instant:

2012 indie drama “The Loneliest Planet” is slated for a February disc release, but you can see it now on Netflix Streaming. Hani Furstenberg and Gael Garcia Bernal star as a couple backpacking through the back country of Georgia in Eastern Europe, always making an effort to take the road less traveled. This road in this meandering, low-key film leads to an unexpected confrontation, and a startling reaction, that changes things irrevocably between them. Don’t fret if you don’t get any subtitles. We are as much in the dark as to what the locals are saying between themselves as our traveling couple. Reviews here.

Sleepwalk With Me” (2012), an indie comedy written by and starring Mike Birbiglia, arrives just after its disc release last week. More here.

Indie horror “Stakeland” (2011), an unconventional take on the vampire film, reimagines the survival drama by way of a zombie thriller. Director Jim Mickle keeps the film focused on the people and the relationships, bringing a scruffy immediacy to the direction, a grace to the imagery, and a commitment to the performances. Videodrone’s review is here.

Batman: Year One” (2011), based on the Frank Miller-scripted graphic novel about the early years of Batman and Jim Gordon (before he was Commissioner) in the cesspool of a corrupt Gotham City, is to date the best of the DC Universe Original Animated features. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

For something a little gentler, there is “All-Star Superman” (2011), adapted from mini-series by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely. It embraces the pulp fun of golden age Superman with a modern grace and a mythic dimension. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

And don’t forget the titles expiring at the end of the year. Time to clear through that queue!

New On Demand:

The Words” with Bradley Cooper and Zoë Saldana arrives same day as disc.

Premiering on Thursday, December 27, in advance of theatrical release, is Don Coscarelli’s high-concept thriller “John Dies at the End” with Chase Williamson and Paul Giamatti.

Available from Redbox this week:

The Words” (Sony) arrives on Blu-ray and DVD same day as stores.

From last week’s New Release Rack comes “Trouble With the Curve” (Warner) with Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams, “Liberal Arts” (MPI) with Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Olsen, and “10 Years” (Anchor Bay) with Channing Tatum and Rosario Dawson. All reviewed on Videodrone here.

Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week is the 2012 superhero blockbuster “The Dark Knight Returns” (Warner), the climax of Christopher Nolan’s ambitious trilogy (on Blu-ray and DVD), and the animated feature “Paranorman” (Universal), on Blu-ray and DVD.

Flashback release of the week, the 2009 Sandra Bullock comedy “All About Steve” (Fox), is a major misfire, but it’s getting a second life in the kiosks thanks to the appearance by co-star Bradley Cooper.

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Dec 26 2012

‘That Lady in Ermine’ on TCM

The Lady of That Lady in Ermine (1948), the final film from legendary director Ernst Lubitsch, may be 300 years old at the start of movie but she looks remarkably alive in the painting that dominates the castle at the center of the story. In fact, she’s downright restless as she smiles at observers and steps out to confer and sing with the subjects of the paintings around her. She is Francesca, played with a gusto more American than continental by Betty Grable, and she is a national hero in the adorable (and completely fictional) little Principality of Bergamo for saving castle and country from invaders in the 16th century. Grable also plays the beautiful Countess Angelina, Francesca’s descendant, who faces another invasion on her wedding day. With the future of Bergamo at stake, the spirit of Francesca is roused from the painting to once again make the ultimate sacrifice and save her kingdom and castle through romance and song.

Ernst Lubitsch was a living legend when he embarked on That Lady in Ermine in 1947. He had directed some of the most elegant and beloved comedies in the American cinema, from Trouble in Paradise (1932) and Design for Living (1933) to The Shop Around the Corner (1940) and Ninotchka (1939), and had even run Paramount Studio for a year. His distinctive mix of sophisticated comedy, slapstick, sexiness and innuendo was branded “the Lubitsch touch” throughout the industry. He brought that quality to That Lady in Ermine, a lightweight musical romance based on an operetta with an old Europe setting and a dramatis personae filled with witty royals, handsome soldiers, and wily servants.

Lubitsch first started developing an adaptation in 1943 as a vehicle for Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer. By 1947, 20th Century Fox studio head Darryl Zanuck thought the story would be a fine way to relaunch Betty Grable, a light musical comedienne and all-American girl famed for her million dollar legs, in a more sophisticated role. Grable was the studio’s top box-office draw and Zanuck thought that working with a director of Lubitsch’s caliber would add prestige to her popularity. He promoted the project to a lavish Technicolor production and gave Lubitsch the biggest budget of his career.

Continue reading at Turner Classic Movies

Plays on Friday, December 28 on TCM

Dec 21 2012

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of December 18

New Releases:

William Friedkin directs “Killer Joe” (Lionsgate), a southern-fried trailer-park noir with an undercurrent of black comedy. Matthew McConaughey is in prime form as a Dallas homicide cop with a sideline as a killer for hire, and he gets tangled up with a truly screwed-up family plot. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox. Available Friday, December 21. Videodrone’s review is here.

Premium Rush” (Sony) sends Joseph Gordon-Levitt zooming through the streets of New York as a bike messenger with a valuable package and a corrupt cop (Michael Shannon) on his tail. Simple, sleek, cleverly engineered, and paced like a rocket, it’s a terrific adrenaline trip. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox. Available Friday, December 21. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Resident Evil: Retribution” (Sony), the fifth installment in the sci-fi franchise, sends Milla Jovovich back into battle with the viral zombies and the clones controlled by the Red  Queen. Given the video game origins, it’s an unusually clever twist to the series, at least in conceptual terms. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox. Available Friday, December 21. Videodrone’s review is here.

Total Recall” (Sony), meanwhile, a remake of the Arnold Schwarzenegger science fiction thriller, delivers much less on a far bigger budget and big name cast. Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox.

Pitch Perfect” (Universal), a small-scale drama set in the collegiate world of competitive acoustic group competition, became one of the sleeper success stories of the year. Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, and Rebel Wilson star. Blu-ray and DVD

Arbitrage” (Lionsgate), a drama set in the culture of corporate trading and financial misbehavior, stars Richard Gere in one of his best performances as a CEO who puts his company and family in jeopardy with his dealings. Blu-ray and DVD.

Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams star as father and daughter in “Trouble With the Curve” (Warner), a drama set in the culture of baseball scouting. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Both available Friday, December 21.

Spike Lee returns to Brooklyn with “Red Hook Summer” (Image), a story of a middle class Atlanta kid spending the summer with his religious grandfather, which is also a return to his low budget roots. Blu-ray, DVD, and at Redbox.

Other American indies out this week are “Sleepwalk With Me” (MPI), a comedy written by and starring Mike Birbiglia, and the romantic drama “Liberal Arts” (MPI) from writer / director / star Josh Radnor. Both on Blu-ray and DVD.

From Portugal comes Miguel Gomes’ “Our Beloved Month of August” (Cinema Guild), on DVD with bonus short films by Gomes, and on the non-fiction front is the documentary “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet” (Kino Lorber), a profile of the rock star diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease at age 19. Both DVD only.

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

House of Lies: The First Season” (Showtime) stars Don Cheadle as the proudly unscrupulous head of a management consultant team, a man who will do anything to land his client, from seduction to sedition, and Kristen Bell as his team leader, not yet as jaded and cynical but learning fast. The Showtime original series is ostensibly a satire of American corporate culture, but mostly it’s just another frame around extreme characters who spend a season indulging in bad behavior with little remorse. 12 episodes, DVD only. Videodrone’s review is here.

Shameless: The Complete Second Season” (Warner) offers another season of antics from the Gallagher clan. Eldest daughter Fiona (Emmy Rossum) tries to hold them together through a reunion with their manic-depressive mom, the rebellion of family genius lip, and the usual scams perpetrated by their reprobate dad (William H. Macy). Blu-ray and DVD.

Mankind: The Story of All of Us” (History), a 12-episode documentary series from the History Channel, surveys the high points of the rise of civilization in under ten hours. Blu-ray and DVD.

Plus more seasons of bad behavior in the pay-cable originals “Californication: The Fifth Season” (Paramount) and “The Life and Times of Tim: The Complete Third Season” (HBO) and the finale of the Lifetime original series “Army Wives: Season Six, Part Two” (ABC).

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

Two animated family features highlight this week’s releases. “The Point: Definitive Collector’s Edition” (MVD Visual) presents the 1971 musical fable written by Harry Nilsson in a new edition with featurettes. Ringo Starr narrates by Nilsson performs all the songs himself. DVD only.

The Adventures of Mark Twain” (Magnolia) is the first Claymation feature from Will Vinton Studios, a fantasy that combines biography and fiction into a fantastical adventure with Mark Twain (voiced by James Whitmore) and his literary characters. DVD and Blu-ray.

Gandu” (Artsploitation), which is an epithet in its original language, is a grungy, anti-Bollywood musical drama from India, shot in B&W and shot through with explicit sex, drugs, and musical interludes.

Previously available from other labels and re-released under new management are the gruesome 1970 cult horror “Mark of the Devil” (Cheezy Flicks) and Stephen Frears’ modern western “The Hi-Lo Country” (Shout! Factory), with Woody Harrelson and Billy Crudup.

All of the Cool and Classic here

Blu-ray Debuts:

Gypsy” (Warner Archive Collection), the 1962 screen musical based on the memoirs of legendary burlesque dancer Gypsy Rose Lee (played by Natalie Wood), is really more about her pushy stage mother and Rosalind Russell plays her in big, broad, diva form. It’s one of the first Blu-ray releases from Warner Archive. Videodrone’s review is here.

Deathtrap” (Warner Archive Collection), another stage-to-screen adaptation, is the other debut Blu-ray. Michael Caine and Christopher star in this witty, self-aware murder mystery set in the culture of Broadway stage thrillers, adapted from the play by Ira Levin. Videodrone’s review is here.

Paul Newman stars in “Sometimes a Great Notion” (Shout! Factory), the screen version of Ken Kesey’s novel about a family of independent loggers in Oregon. And “Hard Core Logo” (VSC), Bruce McDonald’s edgy mockumentary of a punk band’s reunion tour, arrives on Blu-ray with a bonus copy of the new sequel, “Hard Core Logo 2.”

Peruse all the new Blu-rays here

New on Netflix Instant:

Arriving in advance of disc release are “The Kid With a Bike,” the low-key Belgian drama from the Dardenne Brothers, and “Pina” (2011), the dance documentary from director Wim Wenders. Both reviewed by Videodrone here.

Just out on disc are Julie Delpy’s “2 Days in New York” (2012), a comedy co-starring Chris Rock, and the sprawling 15-hour documentary “The Story of Film: An Odyssey,” an engaging and informative approach to the history and art of cinema.

And new Instant TV offerings include the Canadian supernatural series “Lost Girl: Season 1.

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

Arriving On Demand in advance of disc release are “Cosmopolis,” David Cronenberg’s mesmerizing adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel starring Robert Pattinson (MSN’s review is here), and “Hello, I Must Be Going,” written by and starring Melanie Lynskey.

And debuting in advance of theatrical release is “Struck By Lightning,” a comedy with Chris Colfer and Rebel Wilson.

Available Tuesday, December 18, day and date with video stores, is “Trouble With the Curve” with Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams, “Total Recall” with Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale, “10 Years” with Channing Tatum and Rosario Dawson, and the family comedy “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days.

Arriving Friday, December 21 is “Killer Joe” (the unrated version), directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch, the action film “Premium Rush” with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, and “Resident Evil: Retribution,” the fifth installment in the sci-fi video game franchise.

Also new this week: the animated sequel “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”

Available from Redbox this week:

Arriving Tuesday, December 18, day and date with video stores is the remake of “Total Recall” (Sony) starring Colin Farrell, on Blu-ray and DVD, Spike Lee’s “Red Hook Summer” (Image), and “The Good Doctor” (Magnolia) with Orlando Bloom.

Coming Friday, December 21 is William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe” with Matthew McConaughey, “Premium Rush” (Sony) with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and “Resident Evil: Retribution” (Sony).

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

Dec 14 2012

Hot Tips and Top Picks: DVDs, Blu-rays and digital debuts for the week of December 11

New Releases:

Ted” (Universal), the first film from TV creator Seth MacFarlane, puts a cheeky twist on an innocent fantasy of a lonely boy, a cute teddy bear, and a Christmas wish. 25 years later, the tale of a thirty-something slacker (Mark Wahlberg), his talking bear (voiced by MacFarlane), and his frustrated girlfriend (Mila Kunis) becomes a goofy mix of romantic comedy, man-boy slacker tale, and foul-mouthed farce. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Videodrone’s review is here.

The Bourne Legacy” (Universal), the fourth in the action movie franchise, hands off leading man duties to Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, another agent in the experimental program targeted for termination. It’s kind of a sequel, a spin-off, and a side-story all in one. Director Tony Gilroy sets this thriller in the margins of the third “Bourne” film, a clever idea undercut by an underwritten character and confusing action editing. Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton co-star. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Ice Age: Continental Drift” (Fox), the fourth film in the animated series of prehistoric buddies at the dawn of man, sends Manny the mammoth, Diego the saber-toothed tiger, and Sid the Sloth to the high seas aboard a glacier, where they meet a menagerie of pirates. Blu-ray and DVD.

Also new this week: “Why Stop Now” (IFC, Blu-ray and DVD), a rehab road trip comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg, Melissa Leo, and Tracy Morgan; “Trade of Innocents” (Monterey, DVD), a drama about child trafficking starring Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino; and the Korean horror anthology “Doomsday Book” (Well Go, Blu-ray and DVD) from directors Kim Jee-woon (“I Saw the Devil” and “The Good, the Bad, the Weird”) and Yim Pil-sing (“Hansel and Gretel”).

Browse the complete New Release Rack here

TV on Disc:

Girls: The Complete First Season” (HBO), created by and starring Lena Dunham, is a very different look at sex and the single girl in New York City, a comedy about four young women from privileged backgrounds facing the disappointments of real life with a frank, uncomfortable humor. “Girls” arrived along with a number of shows that focus on women characters, but this isn’t much like its sister shows. The sex is awkward, romance is uncomfortable rather than cute, and there’s a lot of settling for what they have rather than insisting on what they want. 10 episodes on Blu-ray and DVD editions. Videodrone’s review is here.

Ultra Seven: The Complete Series” (Shout! Factory), the third in the Japanese “Ultra” series of alien superhero shows, is still considered the best of the series by fans. The late-sixties show draws from the Japanese culture of giant monster mash movies and surreal sci-fi films and has a blast with them. It’s kitsch, sure, but it’s lively, colorful, bizarre kitsch. Japanese with English subtitles, 49 episodes on six discs, DVD only. Reviewed on Videodrone here.

Chiller: The Complete Television Series” (Synapse) is five-episode anthology series originally made for British TV in 1995, featuring episodes written by Anthony Horowitz (“Foyle’s War). Two discs, DVD only.

Just in time for the holidays are two mega-sets. “Mission: Impossible – The Complete Television Collection” (Paramount) collects all seven seasons of the original sixties/early seventies incarnation of the secret agent series of special missions and elaborate international confidence games plus the 1980s revival with Peter Graves commanding a new team, all in a high-concept case designed like a stick of dynamite with long fuse. Also this week is “JAG: The Complete Series” (Paramount), collecting all ten seasons of the military legal series starring David James Elliott and Catherine Bell in a more conventional (but still handsomely designed) box set. More on Videodrone here.

Plus the made-for-HBO documentary “41” (HBO), on President George W. Bush, and new seasons of “Futurama: Volume 7” (Fox) and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent – The Ninth Year” (Shout! Factory).

On the manufacture-on-deman​​d format comes “Hawkins,” the short-lived legal series starring James Stewart as a fierce defense attorney with a folksy manner, plus “Sheena” and the “CHiPs” reunion TV movie. More on the MOD TV roundup here.

Flip through the TV on Disc Channel Guide here

Cool and Classic:

Miami Connection” (Alamo Drafthouse) resurrects a gonzo B-movie from the eighties created by Y.K. Kim, a martial arts instructor and inspirational speaker who took his talents to the big screen. The tale of a synth-rock band made up of Taekwondo black belts who take on a gang of drug-dealing motorcycle Ninjas in Tampa is a mind-bogglingly incompetent production that was dumped to video after a disastrous local release and forgotten for decades, until it was resurrected as a midnight movie by Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse. The newly-minted cult classic debuts on Blu-ray and DVD in a special edition. Videodrone’s review is here.

In “The Story Of Film: An Odyssey” (Music Box), Mark Cousins takes an unconventional approach to the history of cinema, from the first moving images to modern movies, that emphasizes innovation, expression, and the cross-cultural fertilization of ideas spanning the entire globe. The 15-hour series acknowledges the business and culture of movies, but celebrates the art above all. Five discs plus a booklet, DVD only. Reviewed in Videodrone here.

The Qatsi Trilogy (Criterion) collects all three meditative visual essays by Godfrey Reggio: “Koyaanisqatsi” (1983), “Powaqqatsi” (1988), and “Naqoyqatsi” (2002). Ostensibly portraits of modern life out of balance with the earth, they are also astounding beautiful impressions of the world with hypnotic scores by Philip Glass. Blu-ray and DVD, in a box set with interviews, featurettes, and other supplements. Videodrone’s review is here.

Following” (Criterion), the first feature by Christopher Nolan, gets the Criterion treatment in a special edition featuring commentary, a chronological edit of the story, and other supplements. Blu-ray and DVD.

Also new this week: Mario Bava’s “Baron Blood” (Kino) with Joseph Cotten (Blu-ray and DVD), the spaghetti western double features “Django! A Man Called Django / Django and Sartana Showdown” (Timeless) and “Django! Cut Price Corpses / Django Kills Silently” (Timeless), and the modern pirate movie “The Island” (Shout! Factory) with Michael Caine.

All of the Cool and Classic here

Blu-ray Debuts:

The Portrait of a Lady” (Shout! Factory), Jane Campion’s adaptation of the Henry James novel, stars Nicole Kidman as an American in Europe lured into a relationship with a controlling, manipulative man looking for position in society.

The Wild Geese” (Severin) is “Dirty Dozen”-styled action with a fiercely loyal team of British mercenary paratroops on a mission in a civil war-torn African nation, led by Richard Burton and featuring Roger Moore, Richard Harris, and Hardy Kruger.

Les Miserables” (Sony), the 1998 screen version of the oft-filmed Victor Hugo classic, stars Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean, Geoffrey Rush as Javert, and Uma Thurman as Fantine. What do you think could have inspired this timely release?

The Joy Luck Club” (Disney), Wayne Wang’s 1993 adaptation of Amy Tan’s novel of mothers and daughters in San Francisco’s Chinese-American community, stars Ming-Na, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom, and Rosalind Chao as the daughters trying to make their own way in the modern world.

Also new this week: “Dick Tracy” (Disney), the bright, live-action comic strip of a movie directed by and starring Warren Beatty; the 1980 “The Blue Lagoon” (Twilight Time) with Brooke Shields, and the 1973 musical version of “Lost Horizon” (Twilight Time).

Peruse all the new Blu-rays here

New on Netflix Instant:

The Adventures of Tintin” (2011), Steven Spielberg’s first foray into motion capture filmmaking, turns the legendary boy journalist and globe-trotting adventurer from the early graphic novels of Herge into a big screen hero. Videodrone’s review is here.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” (2012), a profile of the acclaimed Chinese artist, filmmaker, and political activist, is one of the 15 films on the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary. Rewind a decade and Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” (2002) won the Oscar for Best Documentary with a cage-rattling investigation into America’s love affair with guns and violence in the wake of Columbine.

New classics include “The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (1957), with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, and “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1959), the Hammer Films take on the Sherlock Holmes mystery with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

And there’s a great batch of films for kids and families just in time fro the holidays: the original “The Muppet Movie” (1979), a Hollywood fairy tale of a frog who dreams of show biz, the Tim Burton-produced animated features “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) and “James and the Giant Peach” (1996), and a bunch of Disney animated features, including “Dumbo” (1941), “Alice in Wonderland” (1951), and “Pocahontas” (1995).

New Instant TV includes “Bones: Season 7” and Seasons One through Seven of the made-for-cable sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

Browse more Instant offerings here

New On Demand:

Ted,” Seth MacFarlane’s foul-mouthed comedy about a man-boy and his talking magical teddy bear (available in an extended, unrated edition), and “The Bourne Legacy,” a spin-off from the action series with Jeremy Renner taking over leading man duties from Matt Damon.

Arriving in advance of home video is Frederick Wiseman’s documentary “Crazy Horse.” Debuting on Friday, December 14, same day as its theatrical premiere, is the indie drama “Yelling to the Sky” with Zoë Kravitz and Gabourey Sidibe.

Available from Redbox this week:

A few titles from a couple of weeks back arrive in the kiosks: “The Watch” (Fox, reviewed here), a comedy with Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hills and Richard Ayoade as neighbors uncover an alien invasion (Fox, reviewed here); Oliver Stone’s crime thriller “Savages” (Universal, reviewed here) with Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, and Blake Lively; and the indie horror anthology film “V/H/S” (Magnolia, reviewed here).

For a calendar of upcoming releases, click here

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