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New on DVD and Blu-ray Week of October 22-28

View Harley Lond's Profile

By Harley Lond - 10/21/13 at 07:25 PM CT

THIS WEEK'S THEATRICAL RELEASES:
"Before Midnight:" It's been 18 years since director Richard Linklater teamed with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for "Before Sunrise" (1995), a romantic drama about two strangers, American tourist Jesse and French student Celine (in their twenties), who meet on a train bound for Vienna and spend a day and night together discussing love, life, religion, and the possibility of feelings for each other. It's been nine years since "Before Sunset" (2004), when the three re-teamed for a sequel in which Jesse, now a successful author, travels to Paris for a book signing at Shakespeare and Company; in the audience, attracted by the book that was based on their interlude nine years before, is Celine. This time they have the briefest of encounters as Jesse, now married with a son, must catch a plane back to the states. Still, they talk over love, life, politics and their unfulfilling relationships with their significant others. The film ends on an ambiguous note: Does Jesse stay or catch his flight? In this next installment, Jesse and Celine, now in their Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke come together once again in the 2013 top drama Before Midnight. forties, face the past, present and future: family, romance and love. It turns out Jesse has left his marriage and his son in America, and now lives with Celine in Paris with their twin daughters. On a writer's retreat in Greece, the couple looks forward to a night of passion, but instead their idyllic evening turns into a test of their relationship and a discussion of what the future holds for them. Jesse yearns to spend more time with his son in the states; Celine resents her role as mother and housekeeper. What starts out as a beautiful day devolves into antagonism, hateful words and spiteful actions. And, again, they talk of life and love and human relationships. Since there's so very little action in the film -- it's basically just Jesse and Celine talking while driving, walking and strolling through the beautiful Greek countryside -- the narrative only works if the viewer can empathize with the pair, which may be difficult since they are so painfully honest about their feelings (as is, almost unbelievably, everyone else in the film). It's all about their relationship, and what it says about love, life, marriage, and long-term commitment. If you like Hawke-Jesse and Delpy-Celine -- or if you want Woody Allen conversation on steroids -- Before Midnight is for you. The bare-bones extras include commentary with Hawke, Delpy and Linklater; a "Revisiting Jesse & Celine" featurette; and a Q&A with Hawke, Delpy and Linklater. From Sony.

Ready for good, old-fashioned scares and frights -- sans torture, gore and porn? Then "The Conjuring" is for you. Here's a horror film that relies on editing and story line for its creepiness -- it's scares come from closing doors and creaking floors, much like the great Lili Taylor facing some angry spirits 2013 top horror film The Conjuring horror films before special effects made it too easy to create chills. It revolves around real-life American paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), who were called to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse in Rhode island in 1971. It turns out the house was haunted by an accused witch, Bathsheba, who tried to sacrifice her children to the devil and killed herself back in 1863, and the Warrens must struggle long and hard to exorcise the house of the powerful demonic entity. The work of the pair inspired "The Amityville Horror." Extras include a trio of behind-the-scene featurettes. From Warner.

"Only God Forgives": Director Nicolas Winding Refn's much-anticipated follow-up to 2011's "Drive" wasn't what most people expected: Yes it was dark, as was "Drive," but it was way more sleazier, dirtier and weirder. There's no likeable characters here nor any redemption, but there's definitely a tour-Kristin Scott Thomas is all business in Only God Forgives de-force performance by Kristin Scott Thomas. Julian (Ryan Gosling), an American fugitive from justice, runs a boxing club in Bangkok as a front for his drug business. His mother, the head of a vast criminal organization, arrives from the U.S. to collect the body of her favorite son, Billy, who has just been killed after having savagely murdered a young prostitute. Crazy with rage and thirsty for vengeance, she demands that Julian produce the heads of the murderers. But first Julian must confront Chang, a mysterious retired policeman -- called the Angel of Vengeance -- who has resolved to scourge the corrupt underworld of brothels and fight clubs and to take down Julian and his operation. It's bleak, crude and rude and, unlike "Drive," has no redeeming qualities. From Anchor Bay.

"The Internship": Some movies are an embarrassment of riches. Some movies are just an embarrassment. This one falls under the latter category. This comedy -- about a pair of old-fashioned, outmoded salesmen (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) who talk their way into an internship program at the state-of-the-art Google campus, where they must compete against tech-savvy college students for a handful of jobs -- is about as much fun as waiting for a long Windows 8 update to download and install itself. The only saving grace here is the spark between Vaughn and Wilson that was kindled during 2005's "Wedding Crashers." Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and commentary with director Shawn Levy. From Fox.

Also due this week: "The Way, Way Back," from Fox, which was unavailable for review

COLLECTIBLES:


Heading up the must-have releases this week is "The Uninvited," a very spooky and chilling horror film from 1944. A pair of siblings (Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey) from London purchase a surprisingly affordable, lonely cliff-top house in Cornwall, only to discover that it actually carries a ghostly price; soon they're caught up in a bizarre romantic triangle from beyond the grave. Rich in atmosphere, "The Uninvited", directed by Lewis Allen, was ground breaking for the seriousness with which it treated the haunted-house genre, and it remains an elegant and eerie experience, featuring a classic score by Victor Young. A tragic family past, a The Uninvited Criterion Collection DVD Cover mysteriously locked room, cold chills, bumps in the night -- ­this gothic Hollywood classic has it all. On DVD and Blu-ray, in a new 2K digital film restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition. From The Criterion Collection). Speaking of horror, Scream Factory/Shout! Factory has released the Blu-ray version of "The Vincent Price Collection," a four-disc set with the first-ever Blu-ray presentation of Price outings "Fall of the House of Usher" (1960), "The Haunted Palace" (1963), "The Masque of Red Death" (1964), "The Pit and the Pendulum" (1961), "Witchfinder General" (1968) and "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" (1971). Includes a 24-page collector's book. Extras include a vintage and rare introduction and final words from Price; commentaries with Roger Corman, others; an audio interview with Price by historian David Del Valle; "A Change of Poe" interview with director Corman; theatrical trailers; still galleries, more. The Criterion Collection has given the Blu-ray treatment to the "John Cassavetes: Five Films Set," with hi-def restorations of "Shadows," "Faces," "A Woman Under the Influence," "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" and "Opening Night."

BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:


"Dead in Tombstone" (2013) is a wild, blood-soaked supernatural Western starring Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall and Mickey Rourke. After a ruthless gang overruns a small mining town, they murder their own leader, Guerrero Hernandez (Trejo), in a cold-blooded power grab. Sentenced to eternity in hell, Guerrero finds himself confronted by Satan himself (Rourke), who offers a daring proposition: deliver the six souls of his former gang and he will escape damnation. With rated and unrated versions, on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo, from Universal ... I Give It a Year DVD Cover In "I Give It a Year" (2013), starring Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Alex Macqueen, Stephen Merchant, Jane Asher, Terence Harvey, Minnie Driver and Jason Flemyng, newlywed couple Nat (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Rafe Spall) are deliriously happy despite their differences, though friends and family aren't convinced that they can last. With their first anniversary approaching and attractive alternatives in the mix, can they last -- especially when Josh's ex-girlfriend and Nat's handsome American client enter the scene. On DVD and Blu-ray from Magnolia Home Entertainment ... When St. Parick's Day in Irish Channel, Louisiana, is restored after a 65-year ban, a vengeful demon returns to terrorize the citizens in "Red Clover (aka Leprechaun's Revenge)" (2013), starring Billy Zane, Courtney Halverson and William Devane. From After Dark Films/Lionsgate.

ON THE INDIE FRONT:


"Just Like a Woman" (2012), starring Sienna Miller and Golshifteh Farahani, is a kind of 21st century "Thelma & Louise" about two women -- Mona, an Egyptian (Farahani) living with her husband and abusive mother-in-law and Marilyn, (Miller) a hard-working warehouse clerk with dreams of becoming a professional belly dancer -- who team up for a road trip from Chicago to Santa Fe, paying their way by Just Like a Woman DVD Cover stopping in dumpy clubs and restaurants to dance. Marilyn dreams of winning an audition to join a famous belly dancing company, while Mona has a secret: She's a fugitive from justice, accused of her mother-in-law's death. Though ripe with possibilities, the film is bogged down with a predictable story line, slow pacing and uninvolving characters. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Cohen Media Group ... In "Homecoming" (2012), starring Jerry Ford, Nina Ashe, Sheldon Shaw and Tiffany-Denise, a group of five college friends reunite for homecoming weekend nearly 20 years after graduation, happily reminiscing about their university memories, rekindling their close friendships, until cracks in the surface start to show as they remember one of their old roommates, whose recent death brings up long-hidden secrets. From One Village Entertainment ... As Cool As I Am DVD Cover "Oka!" (2011) is the story of Louis Sarno, an American ethno-musicologist who lived among the Bayaka Pygmies in Central Africa for 25 years to record their music. Stars Kris Marshall, Isaach De Bankole, Will Yun Lee and the Bayaka of Yandombe. On DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go USA ... In "Storm Rider" (2013), starring Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, C Thomas Howell and Dani Chuchran, spoiled 18-year old Dani Fieldings' world is turned upside down when her father gets arrested for securities fraud, and she has to leave her upscale life in the city to stay with her gruff Uncle Sam out in the country. As Dani and her uncle struggle to bond, she's given an orphaned horse to foster and train, calling her Stormy and giving her all the attention she's missing from her unsettled life. From Arc Entertainment ... Born to teenaged parents in a small town, a smart teenage girl comes of age with her self-centered, immature working mother and a strict, frequently absent father in "As Cool As I Am" (2013), starring Sarah Bolger, Claire Danes, James Marsden, Thomas Mann, Jeremy Sisto, Jon Tenney, Anika Noni Rose and Peter Fonda. On DVD and Blu-ray from IFC Films.

FOREIGN:


"The Wall" (2012 -- Austria/Germany), starring Martina Gedeck, is based on Marlen Haushofer's highly-regarded 1962 novel, the story of an unnamed character -- ­The Woman -- ­who is vacationing in the spectacular Austrian mountains when an invisible wall inexplicably encompasses the countryside. The Woman is cut off from all human contact and is separated from The Wall DVD Cover the rest of the world; accompanied by her loyal dog Lynx, she becomes immersed in a world untouched by civilization and ruled only by the laws of nature, which prove to be both benign and dangerous. As she grapples with her bizarre circumstances, The Woman begins an inward journey of spiritual growth and, ultimately, transcendence. From Music Box Films ... "Paradise: Faith" (2013 -- Austria/Germany/France) is director Ulrich Seidl's second film in the "Paradise" Trilogy about three women in one family who take separate vacations: one as a sex tourist ("Paradise: Love"), another as a Catholic missionary ("Paradise: Faith") and the third at a diet camp for teenagers ("Paradise: Hope"). For Anna Maria, a single woman in her fifties, paradise lies with Jesus. She devotes her summer vacation to doing missionary work, so that Austria may be brought back to the path of virtue. On her daily pilgrimage through Vienna, she goes from door to door, carrying a foot-high statue of the Virgin Mary. When her husband, an Egyptian Muslim confined to a wheelchair, comes home after years of absence, her life is turned upside down. From Strand Releasing.

FOR THE FAMILY:


"Digimon: The Official Seasons 1-4 Collection" (1999-2002) consists of the first four seasons of "Digimon," together for the first time on DVD in a 32-disc set with 205 episodes of the series, with "Digimon Adventure" and "Digimon Adventure 02," the classic seasons that started it all, and "Digimon Tamers" and "Digimon Frontier," the continuation of the series with all new characters and worlds. The series revolves around the life forms known as "Digital Digimon: The Official Seasons 1-4 Collection DVD Cover Monsters," living in a "Digital World," a parallel universe that originated from Earth's various communication networks. The release is timed for the new season, "Digimon Season 6," airing on Nickelodeon. $229.95 from Cinedigm ... After a young girl, Kassie, rescues a wounded former police dog, Scoot, she organizes a charity concert to raise money for less fortunate kids. When two crooks show up and plot to steal the cash, Scoot leads the way as the unlikely group of heroes work together to catch the bad guys and save Christmas in "Scoot & Kassie's Christmas Adventure" (2013), starring Luke Perry, Ariana Bagley, Taylor Negron and Anson Bagley. From Universal ... "Barbie & Her Sisters in a Pony Tale" (2013) is the latest feature-length adventure of Barbie; here Barbie and her sisters set off on a Swiss adventure to the majestic Alps, where they spend the summer at a riding academy. Although the vacation gets off to a rocky start, Barbie discovers a mysterious wild horse in the woods, making their visit truly magical. On DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Universal.

SPECIAL INTEREST:



  • "Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story" (2013): One man's wild, lifelong adventure of testing society's boundaries through his subversive art, this feature combines traditional documentary storytelling with original animation culled from seven decades worth of art from the renegade children's book author and illustrator. Ungerer is an award winning illustrator and author who has published more than 140 books, ranging from his much loved children's books to his controversial adult work. He's famous for his sharp social satire and his witty aphorisms and he ranges from the fantastic to the autobiographical; in Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story DVD Cover the 1960s his political posters against the Vietnam War and racial injustice and his adult books caused many conservatives to boycott his kids books. Using a palette of 20th century events to paint the artist's controversial life story, the film offers a retrospective of Ungerer's life and art, and ponders the complexities and contradictions of a man who, armed with an acerbic wit, an accusing finger and a razor sharp pencil, gave visual representation to the revolutionary voices during one of the most tantalizing and dramatic periods in American history. From First Run Features.

  • "In a Town This Size" (2011): Documentary introduces an Oklahoma town and its long-ignored tragedy of child sexual abuse during the 1960s and 70s. Told through poignant first-person interviews with the victims, their families and professionals, these stories inform viewers about the lifelong harm of childhood sexual abuse, yet emphasize the resiliency of the human spirit: through determination, support and direct conversation, survivors can heal themselves and become advocates for change. From First Run Features. The JFK Collection DVD Cover

  • "The JFK Collection" (2013): History Channel three-disc set explores the life and legacy of the 35th president, and includes biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joseph P. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Ted Kennedy, along with never-before-seen lost Kennedy home movies filmed by Robert and Ethel Kennedy in the early 1950s. $19.98 from Lionsgate.

  • "Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics" (2012): Feature-length documentary about DC Comics villains, from The Joker to Lex Luthor to Sinestro, exploring the thin line between right and wrong, Necessary Evil: Super-Villains of DC Comics Blu-Ray Cover the nature of evil, and how super-villains can reflect society's dark side as well as our own personal fears. It also attempts to uncover the reasons why comic book fans are so fascinated by the very characters they hope to see defeated. Included are interviews from over forty subjects, including: DC comic book writers, artists, executives, filmmakers, comic experts, critics, historians and celebrities. Contains footage from DC Entertainment’s animated series, TV shows, video games and live action films, as well as spotlighting hundreds of covers, pages and panels created by DC Comics' legendary artists. Narrated by Christopher Lee with exclusive interviews with Richard Donner, Guillermo del Toro, Zack Snyder and more. Due October 25: on Blu-ray ($19.98) from Warner.

  • "Shepard & Dark" (2012): Documentary paints an indelible portrait of the complex relationship between Sam Shepard (the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated actor and Johnny Dark, a homebody with a penchant for letter writing, photography and supporting himself with odd jobs from dog-catcher to deli worker. The two met in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s and, despite leading very different lives, remained close friends ever since. Through the decades, they stayed bonded by Shepard & Dark DVD Cover family ties. Dark married an older woman named Scarlett and Shepard married her daughter. For years, the two couples lived together, until Shepard broke away for a relationship with Jessica Lange in 1983, leaving Johnny to help father his first son. Nevertheless, he and Dark continued writing to each other, amassing hundreds of letters. Director Treva Wurmfeld began filming the two friends in 2010 during a period of transition and reflection for Shepard. At the time, he had quietly ended his relationship with Lange and agreed to publish his correspondence with Dark. The task required them to meet and sift through years of their shared history, stirring memories both good and bad. Wurmfeld observes the two men over a period of 18 months and captures a complex male friendship rarely depicted on screen. Film Comment voted this one of the 50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012. From Music Box Films.

  • "The Waiting Room" (2012): A character-driven documentary that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital (in Oakland, Calif.) struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and small business owners. Steel workers, taxi cab drivers and international asylum seekers crowd the halls. The film -- using a blend of cinema verite and characters' voice over -- offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, executive staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices. From Cinedigm.

  • "WWII: 3 Film Collection" (2013): Three History Channel specials that deconstruct the deadliest conflict in human history from three separate perspectives: "WWII in HD," "WWII in HD: The Air War" and "WWII From Space." Five-disc DVD, $24.98; four-disc Blu-ray, $29.99; from Lionsgate.


FROM TV TO DVD:


"Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear" (2013) is an anthology of five Chiller Network macabre short films on the human senses: "Smell," "See," "Touch," "Taste" and "Listen." On DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Scream Factory/Shout! Factory ... Kindred: The Embraced – The Complete Series Boxed Set "Kindred: The Embraced -- The Complete Series" (1996) is a three-disc set with all eight episodes of the cult genre vampire series starring C. Thomas Howell, Mark Frankel, Jeff Kober and Kelly Rutherford. The collectible edition packaged in a special keepsake box including an exclusive edition of "The Book of Nod" (he sacred vampire text that inspired the series' creation) and a letter to fans from series creator John Leekley. While investigating an alleged mobster, San Francisco police detective Frank Kohanek (Howell) discovers that his suspect is actually Julian Luna (Frankel), the undead "Prince of the City" and leader of five vampire clans collectively called "The Kindred." Julian and Frank form an uneasy relationship, working together to prevent a vampire war, while Julian finds himself falling in love with Caitlin (Rutherford), a human Primeval New World: The Complete Series Blu-Ray Cover reporter. $39.98 from CBS Home Entertainment/Paramount ... "Nikita: The Complete Third Season" (2012-13) is a five-disc DVD ($59.98) and four-disc Blu-ray ($69.97) with all 22 episodes, from Warner ... "Primeval New World: The Complete Series" (2012-13) is a three-disc set with all 13 episodes of the North American spin-off of the hit U.K. television series. When an invasion of prehistoric creatures threatens North America, visionary inventor Evan Cross assembles a team of highly-trained scientists and animal experts to battle the deadly predators and investigate the anomalies that brought them through time. On $29.98; Blu-ray Disc, $39.98. From Entertainment One.

Check out other new October 22-28 DVD releases at OnVideo.

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