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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of February 26 -- March 4

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 02/25/13 at 07:24 PM CT

THIS WEEK'S PICKS:

"The Master":
Shut out at the Academy Awards, Paul Thomas Anderson's follow-up to "There Will Be Blood" is another critical look at American culture, this time zeroing in on the cult of religion and heroes that filled the existential void left by the death and destruction (of people, ideologies and beliefs) wrought by World War II. It's a striking portrait of drifters and seekers Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix in one of the Top Drama Films of 2012: The Master that follows the journey of Naval veteran Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) who arrives home unsettled and uncertain of his future -- until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader, Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). As the faith-based organization begins to catch on, Quell becomes Dodd's lieutenant. And as the faith begins to gain a fervent following, Freddie finds himself questioning the belief system he has embraced -- as well as beginning to have doubts about his mentor. The Master is a revelatory film, with stunning performances by Phoenix, Hoffman and Amy Adams as Dodd's wife.

"Holy Motors":
Over the course of a single day, Monsieur Oscar travels by limousine around Paris to a series of nine "appointments," transforming into new characters or incarnations at each stop. Fetched in the morning by Celine, his trusty chauffeur on this surreal journey, Oscar begins the day as a captain of industry. Then he becomes a gypsy crone, a reptilian sex god, a gibberish-spewing troglodyte who kidnaps a fashion model from a photo shoot in Pere-Lachaise cemetery, a melancholy father of a teenage daughter, a shadowy assassin sent to kill his own doppelganger, a dying old man, and finally a thwarted lover revisiting a flame from his past atop a decaying Right Bank department store. The film is a monster movie, film noir, romantic drama, musical, crime thriller, futuristic sex fantasia all rolled into one. In French with English subtitles.

ALSO THIS WEEK:

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" Non-"Twilight Saga" fans stop reading now. The conclusion to the multi-billion dollar book, movie and merchandise franchise. Brought back from near-death by vampire-husband Edward after childbirth, Bella begins her new life as a vampire and mother to their daughter, Renesmee. When the Volturi are led to believe that Renesmee was not born as a vampire but, rather, turned into one in violation of their code, the Volturi set out to destroy the child and the Cullen clan. The Cullens band together with vampires from around the world to stand united against the Volturi. Thankfully, director Bill Condon can now move on to more serious fare.

"Chasing Mavericks": The inspirational true story of real life surfing phenom Jay Moriarity (newcomer Jonny Weston). When 15-year-old Moriarity discovers that the mythic Mavericks surf break, one of the biggest waves on Earth, is not only real, but exists just miles from his Santa Cruz home, he enlists the help of local legend Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler) to train him to survive it. As Jay and Frosty embark on their quest to accomplish the impossible, they form a unique friendship that transforms both their lives. A water-logged coming-of-age story.


DVD Collectibles:

Few films can claim to be as influential to the course of cinema history as "Chronicle of a Summer" (1961 -- France). The fascinating result of a collaboration between filmmaker-anthropologist Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin, this vanguard work of what Morin would term cinema verite is a brilliantly conceived and realized sociopolitical diagnosis of Chronicles of a Summer Criterion Collection DVD Cover the early 60s in France. By simply interviewing a group of Paris residents in the summer of 1960 -- ­beginning with the provocative and eternal question "Are you happy?" and expanding to political issues, including the ongoing Algerian War -- ­Rouch and Morin reveal the hopes and dreams of a wide array of people, from artists to factory workers, from an Italian emigre to an African student. "Chronicle of a Summer's" penetrative approach gives us a document of a time and place with extraordinary emotional depth. In a new high-definition digital transfer of the Cineteca di Bologna restoration of the film, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition ... When an idealistic governor disobeys the reigning feudal lord, he is cast into exile, his wife and children left to fend for themselves and eventually separated by vicious slave traders in Kenji Mizoguchi's masterpiece "Sansho the Bailiff" (1954 -- Japan), here making its Blu-ray debut.


Buzzin' the 'B's:

"Border Run" (2012), starring Sharon Stone, Billy Zane, Manolo Cardona, Miguel Rodarte and Rosemberg Salgado, is a gritty and gripping drama that follows an American reporter as she searches for her missing brother against the backdrop of violence and human smuggling across the U.S./Mexican Border.On DVD and Blu-ray from Anchor Bay ... "Chicken with Plums" (2011) is the latest film from Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, the Academy Award-nominated filmmakers of "Persepolis." Like "Persepolis," this is an adaptation Chicken with Plums DVD Cover of a graphic novel by Satrapi that pushes the boundaries of filmmaking by combining live-action sequences reflecting a mixture of genres (expressionism, fantasy, melodrama) with a clever animated sequence of the classic tale "Appointment in Samarra." The story revolves around Nasser Ali Khan, one of the most renowned musicians of his day, who has lost all taste for life after his beloved violin gets broken; he decides to confine himself to bed to await death, where he plunges into deep reveries. From Sony ... An unlikely brotherhood of soldiers during the Battle of the Bulge makes a daring raid into the heart of Nazi Germany to stop Hitler from developing an atomic super weapon in "Company of Heroes" (2013), starring Tom Sizemore, Chad Collins, Vinnie Jones, Neal McDonough and Jurgen Prochnow. Based on the video game. On DVD and Blu-ray from Sony ... Set in the world of competitive women's track and field, a street smart runner develops an intense rivalry with an equally ambitious wealthy young athlete in "Fast Girls" (2012), starring Lenora Crichlow, Lily James, Bradley James and Rubert Graves. From RLJ/Image Entertainment ... Set in the 1970s and based on Elmore Leonard's best-seller, "Freaky Deaky" (2012) is a trippy comedy that follows an ex-bomb squad cop who gets involved with the seedy side of Los Angeles when he's transferred to the vice squad. Stars Christian Slater, Crispin Glover, Michael Jai White, Billy Burke, Roger Bart, Andy Dick, Bill Duke, Gloria Hendry and Sabina Gadecki. From Entertainment One ... "Hey Japanese" (2009 -- Japan) is a dark erotic comedy that takes a wild ride through Tokyo nightlife as a group of 58 small town suburbanites, from teenagers to retirees, take to the Freaky Deaky DVD Cover night in search of all sorts of sensual excitement. From Vanguard Cinema ... A former race car driver who transports stolen exotic cars is framed for a cop's murder, escapes prison, takes a female hostage (who turns out to be a deputy sheriff) and heads for L.A. in a high-speed chase with the police in "Joshua Tree" (1993), starring Dolph Lundgren, George Segal, Kristian Alfonso, Geoffrey Lewis, Michelle Phillips and Bert Remsen. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Shout! Factory ... A well-known Shaolin fighting monk must protect his New York City Kung-Fu school from a ruthless promoter in "Man From Shaolin" (2011), starring Peng Zhang Li, Brian Ames and Linda Elena Tovar. From Lionsgate ... In "Nobody Gets Out Alive" (2013), starring Shaun Paul Costello, Chelsey Garner, Brian Gallagher and Clint Howard, a group of partying college students escape their troubled lives only to find themselves fighting for their lives when they're attacked by a mad man seeking "revenge" for the death of his daughter years before at the hands of a drunk driver. From (Image Entertainment ... "Ultimate Zombie Feast Volume 1" is a collection of cool zombie films from around the world, ranging from 5 min. to 62 min., including the exclusive 62-min Mormon zombie film "The Book of Zombie" and festival winners "It Came From the West" and "Dead Hungry," and India's first zombie film "Savages." Other titles: "Zombies and Cigarettes," "Plague," "Bitten," "Arise," "Not Even Death," "Fear of the Living Dead," "Kidz," "ZomBeer." From Vanguard Cinema.


Foreign:

"A Simple Life" (2011 -- Hong Kong), starring Andy Lau and Deanie Ip, is a wonderfully heartfelt and poignant drama about -- well -- the events that move our simple, everyday lives. Roger (Andy Lau) is a successful movie producer. Ah Tao (Deanie Ip) has worked for Roger's family as a nanny and maid over the course of four generations. When Roger comes home to find Ah Tao has suffered a severe stroke and is unable to care for herself, he agrees to help her relocate to a nursing home. He wants to help, but fears he'll fail her. She needs his kindness, but doesn't want to be a burden. As their roles reverse, he becomes her caregiver, and comes to understand how much she means to him. On DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA.


For the Family:

Perry the Platypus -- a.k.a. Agent P -- and his fellow operatives team up to thwart Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his dastardly "Inators" in "Phineas and Ferb: Animal Agents" (2013), which features 12 animated adventures including the two-part "Phineas and Ferb" cliffhanger "Where's Perry?" $19.99 from Disney ... "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles" (2012) includes five episodes from Nickelodeon's new, CGI-animated TMNT Barbie in the Pink Shoes DVD Cover series, featuring the voices of Jason Biggs, Sean Astin, Rob Paulsen and Greg Cipes. $14.99 from Nickelodeon/Paramount ...In "Barbie in the Pink Shoes" (2013), a ballerina puts on a pair of sparkling pink shoes and is transported to a fantastical ballet world where she must dance in her favorite ballets ("Giselle" and "Swan Lake") in order to defeat an evil Snow Queen. On DVD and Blu-ray from Universal ... "Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon" (2013) is a new Scooby-Doo! animated movie in which the lovable Great Dane and his pals attend a popular comic book and media convention where they find themselves battling a legendary super villain -- the hideous Mr. Hyde -- who comes to life and terrorizes everyone at the convention. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Warner ... A little orphan boy becomes best friends with an elephant named Lucky in "My Lucky Elephant" (2013), starring First Khunchan and Somboon the elephant. From Arc Entertainment.

Special Interest:


  • "Escape Fire: Fight to Rescue American Healthcare" (2012): Documentary tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: How can we save our badly broken healthcare system? The powerful and thought-provoking film examines the American healthcare system, exposing its triumphs and failures through dramatic, interspersed scenes of personal stories of those affected and interviews with industry leaders fighting to change the system. From Lionsgate.

  • Escape Fire DVD Cover
  • "How to Survive a Plague" (2012): Academy-award nominated documentary about the fight against AIDS. It's the story of two coalitions -- ACT UP and TAG (Treatment Action Group) -- whose activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition. Boasting a wealth of archival footage, this impassioned documentary follows the genesis of the protest groups that took to the streets during the height of the epidemic to push for more aggressive drug trials. Facing opposition from both within and without, the protestors made themselves and their cause known to the public at large, via a variety of nonviolent protests and canny media moves. Directed by David France. From IFC Films.

  • "May I Be Frank" (2010): Frank Ferrante is a 54 year- old Sicilian from Brooklyn living in San Francisco. A lover of life, great food, beautiful women and a good laugh, Frank is also a drug addict, morbidly obese, pre-diabetic, and fighting Hepatitis C. The film documents the transformation of Frank's life when he stumbles into a local raw and vegan restaurant, becomes friends with the staff, and strikes an agreement to turn his life over to three twentysomething young men to be coached physically, emotionally and spiritually, into a new person. From Cinema Libre Studio.

  • "NOVA scienceNOW: How Smart Can We Get?" (2013): Four stories uncover what intelligence is and what scientists are learning about it: "Einstein's Brain," "What Is Intelligence?" "Mystery of the Savant Brain" and "Profile: Sian Beilock"; hosted by The New York Times and Scientific American columnist David Pogue. From PBS Distribution.

  • "The Reagan Presidency" (2013): New three-part series offers an in-depth study of President Reagan's work in the White House as he dealt with high unemployment, skyrocketing interest rates and the escalation of the Cold War as both Soviet and American leaders fired heated rhetoric from behind their podiums of power. From PBS Distribution.

  • Rolling Stones - Mick vs. Keith: The Strange Case of Jagger and Richards
  • "Rolling Stones -- Mick vs. Keith: The Strange Case of Jagger & Richards"(2012) Although the Rolling Stones have clocked 50 years together, Jagger and Richards have had to tolerate each other a fair bit longer than that. This two-disc set takes a unique and previously uncharted look at the relationship and music produced by Mick and Keith during this near lifetime of close association, and in so doing, reveals much about one of the most curious partnerships of the rock age. From MVD Entertainment.



From TV to DVD:

"The Client List: The Complete First Season" (2012) is a three-disc set with 10 episodes, $45.99 from Sony ... "Garrow's Law: The Complete Collection" (2009-11) includes all three series of the absorbing legal drama featuring Andrew Buchan as William Garrow, a revolutionary legal mind determined to defend the downtrodden in 18th-century England. Based on a true story, the series follows Garrow as he advocates for prisoners' Iron Road DVD Cover rights and pioneers the idea of innocence until proven guilty. Six-disc set with 12 episodes, $79.99 from Acorn Media ... "Iron Road" (2008) stars Sam Neill, Peter O'Toole, Luke Macfarlane, Charlotte Sullivan and Betty Sun in a miniseries tale of forbidden love set against the 19th century backdrop of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad through the Canadian Rockies. From Entertainment One ... "Law & Order: The Twelfth Year" (2001-02) is a five-disc set with 24 episodes, $36.98 from Universal ... "Maigret Complete Collection" stars Michael Gambon in the acclaimed adaptations of Georges Simenon's classic detective novels, which were broadcast on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery! in the early 1990s. From Acorn Media ... Geraldine McEwan stars in the 1978 adaptation of Muriel Spark's "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," making its DVD debut in a three-disc set from Acorn Media.

Check out other new February 26 -- March 4 DVD releases at OnVideo.

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