By Harley Lond - 09/13/16 at 09:14 AM CT
FROM THE BIG SCREEN:
I've never been a fan of comic book heroes on the big screen and the latest outing from the folks at Marvel/Disney, "Captain America: Civil War," is just another masturbatory exercise in excess -- and a great excuse to keep a lot of computer animators working. There's just about every superhero imaginable fighting one another over accountability (remember "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"), with one team led by Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) and the other by Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), with the lineup including Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bucky Barnes aka Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Sam Wilson aka Falcon (Anthony Mackie) Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes aka War Machine (Don Cheadle), Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Vision (Paul Bettany), Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Scott Lang aka Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and T'Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Peter Parker aka Spider-Man (Tom Holland). There are amazing orgasms of fighting and destruction amid a wandering storyline, and I'm left drained ... but still marching forward, hiding behind cartons of fresh popcorn in sleazy grindhouses, looking for the real thing -- a good movie. Extras for Captain America: Civil War include a gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, commentary, and several behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Also due this week: "The Conjuring 2," another real case from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Reprising their roles, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as the Warrens, who, in one of their most terrifying paranormal investigations, travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits. From Warner ... and "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping," a rock comedy that goes behind the scenes as music sensation Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) finds his popularity plummeting after a disastrous album release, leaving his fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when he’s no longer the dopest star of all. From Universal.
THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS:
You can never have enough "Aliens" in your moviegoing life, and to feed your need comes
"Aliens: 30th Anniversary Edition" (1986), directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein in the fastest-paced, most straight-ahead in the "Alien" franchise. This set features both the Theatrical and Special Edition versions of the film on Blu-ray, and includes collectible art cards and a book featuring art from the Dark Horse Comics "Aliens" series with an all-new cover created exclusively for this edition. The Blu-ray and Digital HD release include an all-new documentary titled "The Inspiration and Design of Aliens," which delves into the origins of the film. James Cameron directed this critically acclaimed sequel starring Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, the sole survivor of the Nostromo's deadly encounter with the monstrous Alien. After drifting through space in hypersleep for 57 years, Ripley returns to Earth, haunted by nightmares of the past. Although her story is initially met with disbelief, she agrees to accompany a team of Colonial Marines back to LV-426 ... and this time it’s war as the marines encounter a deserted planet overrun with Aliens. From Fox.
"The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum" (1939 - Japan) is a heartrending masterpiece by Kenji Mizoguchi about the give-and-take between life and art and marked the director’s first use of the hypnotic long takes and eloquent camera movements that would come to define his films. The adopted son of legendary kabuki actor Kikunosuke (Shotaro Hanayagi), who is striving to achieve stardom by mastering female roles, turns to his infant brother’s wet nurse (Kakuko Mori) for support and affection—and she soon gives up everything for her beloved’s creative glory. Featuring fascinating glimpses behind the scenes of kabuki theater in the late nineteenth century, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum is a critique of the oppression of women and the sacrifices required of them, and the pinnacle of Mizoguchi’s early career. On DVD and Blu-ray in a new, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray. On DVD and Blu-ray Disc. From The Criterion Collection.
BUZZIN' THE 'B'S:
High on the 'B' list this week is the"Raising Cain [Collector's Edition]" (1992), starring John Lithgow, Lolita Davidovich, Steven Bauer, Frances Sternhagen, Gregg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris and Teri Austin. From master of terror Brian De Palma comes this stylish psychological thriller. Carter Nix (Lithgow) is a respected psychologist, loving husband and devoted father who decides to take a year off to help raise his daughter. Carter's wife Jenny is pleased to have her attentive husband home -- at first. When Carter shows obsessive behavior toward their daughter, Jenny becomes concerned, and to complicate matters, Jenny's old flame re-enters her life. But nothing can prepare her for the emergence of Carter's multiple personalities, and a fiendish plot to recreate the infamous experiments of his deranged father. The two-disc Blu-ray includes new interviews with actors John Lithgow, Steven Bauer, Gregg Henry, Tom Bower, Mel Harris and editor Paul Hirsch; original theatrical trailer; director's cut of the film featuring scenes reordered as originally intended; new "Changing Cain: Brian De Palma's Cult Classic Restored" featurette; new "Raising Cain Re-Cut – A Video Essay" by Peet Gelderblom. From Scream Factory Select ... In "Marauders" (2016) when a bank is hit by a brutal heist, all evidence points to the owner (Bruce Willis) and his high-powered clients. But as a group of FBI agents (Christopher Meloni, Dave Bautista and Adrian Grenier) dig deeper into the case — and the deadly heists continue — it becomes clear that a larger conspiracy is at play. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate ... In "The Neon Dead" (2015), starring Marie Barker, Mark Ashworth, Greg Garrison, Dylan Schettina, Nathan DeRussy and Candace Mabry, an unemployed college graduate hires two paranormal exterminators to combat a monster infestation in her new home. But their out-of-their-depth prodding into an evil unleashes an ancient demon and his army of monsters who quickly overrun the home, intent on possessing every human they make contact with. From Wild Eye Releasing ... "Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn" (1983), directed by Charles Band and starring Mike Preston, Kelly Preston, Jeffrey Byron, Tim Thomerson and Richard Moll, was originally released in 3D during the early 1980s 3D revival and here gets a 3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray Combo treatment by the folks at Scream Factory. On a desert planet, warlord Jared-Syn is trying to convince a tribe of mutants that he's their messiah and gain unlimited power hidden in a crystal. Only the galactic peacekeeping Ranger Dogen and explorer Dhyana, who's father was murdered by Syn, can stop him. Extras include a new featurette, "High Noon at the End of the Universe," featuring interviews with director-producer Charles Band, actors Jeffrey Byron, Richard Moll and Tim Thomerson, screenwriter-producer Alan J. Adler, special effects artist Allan Apone, make-up artist Kenny Myers and composer Richard Band ... A wild Scottish island provides the backdrop for "The Silent Storm" (2014 -- UK), starring Damian Lewis, Andrea Riseborough and Ross Anderson in a tense drama about a stormy marriage between an authoritarian minister and his mysterious wife whose lives are shaken by the unexpected arrival of a delinquent into their home. From Sony ... With the hopes of a new life for his family, Bruce Diaz leaves the harsh city for the serene and majestic mountains of California in "The Purging Hour" (2015), starring Paul Cross, Tom Mclaren and Art Roberts. But the Diaz family's first day in their new house would go down as one of the most violent 24 hours any family could ever imagine. With no serviceable evidence being retrieved and no witnesses, the case was eventually dismissed. Several years later, the family's personal home movie footage was released by an anonymous source. This "home video" is the family's story, through their eyes. From MVD Visual ... "Transformers: The Movie (30th Anniversary Edition)" (1986), starring Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Orson Welles, Susan Blu, Judd Nelson, Leonard Nimoy, Eric Idle and Robert Stack, is remastered from a new 4k transfer of the original film elements. For millennia, the heroic Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, have been at war with the evil Megatron and his Decepticons over control of their home planet of Cybertron. However, an even greater threat: Unicron, a colossal converting planet that devours everything in its path and is heading right for Cybertron. The only hope is the Autobot Matrix of Leadership. Will the Autobots be able to save themselves and their home world in time? Available in a Limited Edition Seelbook two-disc Blu-ray, two-disc Blu-ray, and DVD from Shout! Factory ... "Tales of Halloween" (2015) is a limited collector's edition of the horror anthology film that weaves together 10 chilling tales from horror's top directors: Ghosts, ghouls, monsters, and the devil delight in terrorizing unsuspecting residents of a suburban neighborhood on Halloween night. The all-star directorial lineup includes Neil Marshall, Darren Lynn Bousman, Lucky McKee and Mike Mendez. Cameos by horror heavyweights such as Barry Bostwick, Lin Shaye, John Savage, Adrienne Barbeau, John Landis, Joe Dante, Barbara Crampton, Booboo Stewart, Keir Gilchrist, Grace Phipps, Pat Healy, Kristina Klebe, Greg Grunberg, Alex Essoe, Pollyanna McIntosh and more. In addition to the feature film, the limited-edition collector's set will also contain a DVD chock-full of bonus features and a CD of the film's soundtrack featuring original tracks by Lalo Schifrin, Jimmy Psycho, Christopher Drake and Christian Henson. Among the highlights of the bonus features are exclusive, never-before-seen short films from "Tales of Halloween" directors, including "Brain Death," an early student film from director Neil Marshall that was previously unreleased. Other highlights include video diaries for each segment of the anthology, featuring interviews with the directors, cast, and crew, and sneak peeks behind-the-scenes on set. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Epic Pictures Group ... In "Be Somebody" (2016), starring Matthew Espinosa, Sarah Jeffery, Tava Smiley and Caitlin Keats, social media star Espinosa (with 18 million followers) stars as teen pop star Jordan Jaye, who just wants to live like a regular teenager. When he’s chased down by some excited female fans, he finds a perfect hideout and a reluctant new friend in a small town high school art student named Emily Lowe (Sarah Jeffery). From Paramount.
ON THE INDIE FRONT:
"King Jack" (2015), starring Charlie Plummer, Cory Nichols, Christian Madse and Danny Flaherty, is a critically acclaimed coming-of-age story about friendship and finding happiness in rough surroundings, the stylish film follows a scrappy 15-year-old (Plummer) who bonds with his introverted cousin (Nichols) while facing off against a bully (Flaherty), set over a hazy summer weekend. From Well Go USA.
From Cohen Media Group comes "Standing Tall" (2015 -- France): Abandoned by his mother (Sara Forestier) at the age of 6, Malony (Rod Paradot) is constantly in and out of juvenile court. An adoptive family grows around this young delinquent: Florence (Catherine Deneuve), a children's magistrate nearing retirement, and Yann (Benoît Magimel), a caseworker and himself the survivor of a very difficult childhood. Together they follow the boy's journey and try unfailingly to save him. Then Malony is sent to a stricter educational center, where he meets Tess (Diane Rouxel), a very special young girl who shows him that there are reasons for hope. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc.
FOR THE FAMILY:
"Batman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants" (2016) is the latest original animated adventure. The Dark Knight is back doing what he does best -- protecting the citizens of Gotham City – in the third installment of the Batman Unlimited series. When evil scientist Mr. Freeze activates his latest invention on two of Gotham City's most formidable criminals -- Killer Croc and Bane -- things go from bad to worse. Turning them into super-sized mutant monsters, the Super-Villains start bashing through the streets of Gotham City with no end in sight. It's up to the Caped Crusader and his Super Hero team to save the day by putting the giant robot mechs in their place – but it will be an uphill battle as they face off against enormous foes. From Warner.
Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with 200 stores, in 30 countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made an astounding $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But that's not the story. What killed Tower Records is the perfect storm that devastated the music industry -- a combination of hubris and arrogance on the part of industry executives, cocaine, free downloads via Napster, and poor financial planning. Directed by Colin Hanks, and featuring music icons like Dave Grohl, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen, the mesmerizing and absorbing "All Things Must Pass" (2015) examines the iconic company's explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon. For seven years, Hanks took on the documentary that lamented and celebrated the Sacramento-based record store that grew from his hometown into an American retail powerhouse. From Filmrise/MVD Entertainment ... "The Last Reef: Cities Beneath The Sea" (2016) is an IMAX and Giant Screen film released in 4K and 3D. Shot on location in Palau, Vancouver Island, French Polynesia, Mexico, and The Bahamas, "The Last Reef" takes viewers on a global journey to explore the human connection with the ocean's complex, parallel worlds. New underwater 3D technology takes us into the heart of the reef, revealing a habitat more diverse and more colorful than one ever imagined. In a 4K Ultra HD/3D Blu-reay/Blu-ray Combo set as well as Blu-ray and Digital, from Shout! Factory ... "Wonders of the Arctic" (2016) was also an IMAX and Giant Screen film released in 4K and 3D. The Arctic has always been a place of mystery, myth and fascination. The Inuit and their predecessors adapted and thrived for thousands of years in what is arguably the harshest environment on Earth. Today, the Arctic is the focus of intense research. Instead of seeking to conquer the north, scientist pioneers are searching for answers to some troubling questions about the impacts of human activities around the world on this fragile and largely uninhabited frontier. "Wonders of the Arctic" centers on the ongoing mission to explore and come to terms with the Arctic, and the compelling stories of the many forays into this captivating world. On 4K Ultra HD/3D Blu-reay/Blu-ray Combo as well as Blu-ray Disc and Digital. From Shout! Factory ... "Back in Time" (2015) is a documentary that takes a look at the very real impact the "Back to the Future" movies have had on our culture. Includes must-see interviews with Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, James Tolkan, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox. From Filmrise/MVD Entertainment ... Filmed in cities across the country, "When Justice Isn't Just" (2015) explores why so many unarmed black people have been targeted and killed by law enforcement officers, an issue that has taken center stage in the national consciousness. The filmmakers talk to legal experts, activists and law enforcement officials who speak to the inequality within our criminal justice system. The film asks the crucial question of how to prevent more violence in this country, including Black on Black deaths. Activists, law enforcement officials, legal scholars, and the family members of victims offer a range of responses. From First Run Features ... "Presenting Princess Shaw" (2015) is a documentary on the collaborative relationship between New Orleans based songwriter/YouTube star Samantha Montgomery and Israeli composer/video artist Ophir Kutiel. By day, Samantha Montgomery cares for the elderly in one of New Orleans's toughest neighborhoods. By night, she writes and sings her own songs as Princess Shaw on her confessional YouTube channel. Raw and vulnerable, her voice is a diamond in the rough. Across the globe, Ophir Kutiel creates video mash ups of amateur YouTube performers. Known as Kutiman, he is a composer, a musician, and a pioneering video artist embraced by the world of fine art. Kutiman "transforms sampling into a multimedia art," whether at his home on a kibbutz in Israel or at a live performance at the Guggenheim in New York. Two strangers, almost 7,000 miles apart, begin to build a song. From Magnolia Home Entertainment. One of the most talented, influential, and iconoclastic filmmakers of all time, Brian De Palma's career started in the 60s and has included such acclaimed and diverse films as "Carrie," "Dressed to Kill," "Blow Out," "Scarface," "The Untouchables," "Carlito's Way" and "Mission: Impossible." In the lively, illuminating and unexpectedly moving documentary "De Palma" (2016), directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow engage in a personal and candid discussion with De Palma, exploring not only his life and work but also his singular approach to the craft of filmmaking and his remarkable experiences navigating the film business, from his early days as the bad boy of New Hollywood to his more recent years as a respected veteran of the field. In the end, what emerges is a funny, honest, and incisive portrait of a truly one-of-a-kind artist, and an exhilarating behind-the-scenes look at the last 50 years of the film industry through the eyes of someone who has truly seen it all. In a Blu-ray/DVD Combo from Lionsgate.
FROM TV TO DVD:
"The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Ninth Season" (2015-16) includes all 24 episodes of the hit series that follows the saga of Leonard and Sheldon, two genius roommates who are brilliant in the lab, but socially challenged outside of it. In a three-disc DVD, two-disc Blu-ray set, from Warner ... "Chicago P.D.: Season Three" (2015-16) is a six-disc set with all 23 episodes. Return to ground zero in the fight against Chicago crime with this critically acclaimed drama from Primetime Emmy Award winner Dick Wolf ("Law & Order"). In Season Three, Hank Voight's (Jason Beghe) intelligence unit is in the final stretch of taking down a powerful kingpin when one of his detectives is severely beaten and kidnapped. In a race against time, Voight makes the difficult decision to bring back one of the disgraced former members of his unit. From Universal ... "Empire: The Complete Second Season" (2015-16) is a five-disc set with all 18 episodes. Three months have passed since Lucious Lyon's (Terrence Howard) shocking arrest. Now, released from prison, he and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) enter a hostile competition to dominate the music industry. Despite an ongoing feud between their sons Jamal and Hakeem, a stunning betrayal may unite the family against an outside takeover of Empire Entertainment Records. From Fox ... "Hawaii Five-0: The Sixth Season" (2015-16) is a six-disc set with all 25 episodes. The heat's on as the Hawaii Five-0 team takes on some of the Aloha State's most notorious and baffling criminal cases involving murder, the Mob, espionage, and kidnapping. With McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) and Danny (Scott Caan) at the helm, the team interrogates members of a renegade stunt-bikers gang, pursues a rogue Russian spy with access to NSA secrets, and partners with an autistic child in a murder investigation. From Universal ... In "Little House on the Prairie: Legacy Movie Collection," the story of the Ingalls family concludes with three newly restored and uncut movie adventures:" Look Back to Yesterday," "Bless All the Dear Children," and "The Last Farewell." From Lionsgate ... "Longmire: The Complete Fourth Season" (2015) is a three-disc set with all 10 episodes of the Netflix contemporary Western series. The new season finds unflappable Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) and his deputies trying to put the troubling events of the past behind them. The mysterious White Warrior who tormented Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) is dead, Walt's best friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) is a free man, Longmire's right-hand deputy Victoria "Vic" Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) is newly divorced, and the mystery of Walt's wife's murder is seemingly resolved. However, just as it looks like a second chance is truly possible for everyone; the opening of the new casino on the Reservation brings dark new problems to Walt's corner of Wyoming. On DVD, Blu-ray Disc from Warner. "Scorpion: Season Two" (2015-16) is a six-disc set with all 24 epiosdes. Elyes Gabel stars as the leader of Scorpion, a team of prodigies who use their intellect to solve the world's deadliest problems. Also starring Robert Patrick as tough-as-nails Homeland Security agent Cabe Gallo, and Katherine McPhee as Paige, a former waitress who interprets the "normal" world for the team, while they help her understand her withdrawn, genius son. From CBS/Paramount.
Check out other September 13-September 19 DVD/Blu-ray releases and reviews at OnVideo.