Plus the docudrama 'Killing Lincoln,' the debut seasons of 'Major Crimes' and 'Wedding Band,' and more
"The Newsroom: The Complete First Season" (HBO) is Aaron Sorkin's HBO original series set at a cable news channel that is remarkably idealistic and full of brilliant people who have sharp political instincts and poor impulse control. Videodrone's review is here.
"House of Cards: The Complete First Season" (Sony) became something of a game changer when it debuted on Netflix earlier this year. Produced by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey as a savagely Machiavellian politician, it was the first streaming video original series with the same commitment to production value and provocative writing as the more extravagant cable shows.
Based on a British mini-series from the nineties (and the novel by Michael Dobbs before it), it moves the political circus to the American tent and casts Spacey as a congressman who takes a slash and burn approach to stepping up the political ladder. Fincher also directs the first two episodes of the savage political satire, setting the tone and style of the show: handsome, elegant, and cinematic, like an Alan Pakula drama from the seventies with the sharp, cool look of Fincher's digital aesthetic.
Spacey revisits his honeyed southern accent from "In the Garden of Good and Evil" to play Francis Underwood, the heavyweight party animal who goes lone wolf when he's passed over for a promised appointment, and he smiles his way through a campaign of subterfuge, political sabotage, media manipulation, personal vengeance, and even murder. Robin Wright is equally good as the congressional wife who runs a charitable foundation with all the warmth and compassion of Lady Macbeth and Fincher and Spacey (who is also an executive producer) attract a superb line-up of actors: Kate Mara as the young political reporter who trades rises fast thanks to his tips, Corey Stoll as a fellow congressman with a weakness for… well, pretty much anything, and Michael Kelly as Spacey's top aide and loyal henchman. More at my original review of series on Videodrone here.
13 episodes on Blu-ray and DVD with, surprisingly, no supplemental material whatsoever.
"Killing Lincoln" (Fox), adapted from the non-fiction time co-written by Bill O'Reilly, continues the Lincoln revival on screens big and small. This docudrama, narrated by Tom Hanks and starring Billy Campbell as Lincoln, was originally produced for the National Geographic Channel Ridley and Tony Scott. "This thing ring-a-ding-dings with authenticity," celebrated Entertainment Weekly TV critic Ken Tucker, who describes it in his review as "a well-oiled machine of melodrama."
Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary by executive producer and screenwriter Erik Jendresen, the featurette "Uncovering the Truth: The Making of Killing Lincoln," and an interview with author O'Reilly among the supplements.
"Major Crimes: The Complete First Season" (Warner) reworks the TNT original series "The Closer" with Mary McDonnell taking charge of the crack Major Crimes squad. I confess that Kira Sedgewick was my least favorite part of "The Closer," so I find that I prefer this incarnation with McDonnell's Captain Sharon Raydor as the smart, savvy, soft-spoken, and far less eccentric team leader of the squad. The team is essentially the same (only a single player has been swapped out in the revision) and the chemistry intact, made a little more interesting as they work through the tentative new working relationship. DVD, 10 episodes on three discs,
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The film that made Bruce Lee an international icon gets remastered for a new special edition on Blu-ray and DVD
"Enter the Dragon: 40th Anniversary" (Warner)
After years of supporting roles in Hollywood, American citizen Bruce Lee became a worldwide star in Hong Kong with a handful of hard-edged martial arts thrillers. He returned to conquer his adopted homeland with this American/Hong Kong co-production, a glorified B-movie mix of kung-fu fighting (choreographed by Lee himself) and James Bond intrigue (the plot has more than a passing resemblance to "Dr. No") elevated by the charismatic presence and graceful but deadly moves of the lean, wiry martial arts master.
Lee stars as a British agent sent to compete in an international martial arts tournament sponsored by a bloodthirsty Asian crimelord Han (Shih Kien), using his cover to infiltrate the criminal empire. The Americans were apparently worried that an Asian unknown could carry a Hollywood film so actors / champion martial artists John Saxon and Jim Kelly were cast as maverick American competitors, but Lee is the show here. Director Robert Clouse uses the tournament setting to fill the film with a roll call of martial arts styles and he ends the film with twin spectacles: a huge free-for-all battle outside, while Lee takes on the claw-fisted Han in a brutal one-on-one battle in a hall of mirrors battle. Lee narrows his eyes and tenses into a wiry force of sinew, speed, and ruthless determination.
The film that kicked off the worldwide martial arts movie craze and made a legend of Bruce Lee, who sadly had little time to use his newly minted fame to make his dream projects. He died before finishing his next film, "Game of Death."
"Enter the Dragon" debuted on Blu-ray in 2007 but it was newly remastered for the release. The independently-produced film was not a polished studio piece, it was a little down and dirty and looked it. The new transfer is bolder, brighter, and has more detail, but it is still a martial arts picture from 1973. The soundtrack is remastered in DTS-HD 5.1.
The Blu-ray and DVD editions both include three new featurettes. The 26-minute "No Way as Way" features vintage interviews with Bruce Lee along with new interviews from the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, George Takei, and Lee’s widow Linda Lee Cadwell. "Wing Chun" is a 20-minute introduction to the style martial arts that Lee first practiced, and "Return to Han's Island" is a 10-minute tour of the film's Hong Kong locations.
See a trailer for "No Way as Way" after the jump. Click on "More" below.
Carried over from the previous release is commentary by producer Paul Heller, a collection of interviews with Linda Lee Cadwell, home movie footage of Bruce Lee working out, and five vintage Bruce Lee documentaries: "Blood and Steel: The Making of Enter the Dragon" (2004), "Bruce Lee: Curse of the Dragon" (1993) narrated by George Takei, John Little’s excellent feature length portrait "Bruce Lee: A Warriors Journey" (2000) and his earlier "Bruce Lee: In His Own Words" (1998), culled from archival interviews with Lee, plus the original 1973 promotional featurette.
Along with the video extras is a little booklet with excerpts and behind-the-scene photos from David Freidman's upcoming book "Enter the Dragon: A Photographic Journey" and an envelope with postcards and other little collectibles.
Plus Dwayne Johnson is a 'Snitch,' Quentin Dupieux's film is 'Wrong,' 'The Taste of Money' from South Korea, and more
James Franco plays "Oz the Great and Powerful" (Disney) in the adventure fantasy directed by Sam Raimi, an adaptation of the Frank L. Baum novel that plays out as a prequel to the classic "The Wizard of Oz." Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams play the witches of Oz in this lavish production, originally released in 3D, and are more interesting characters than the shallow huckster who grows into a hero.
"There's maybe three-fifths of an inspired and sometimes nearly great movie within the 130-or-so minutes of "Oz the Great and Powerful," which makes the two-fifths or so that fall flat (and they fall very flat indeed) that much more lamentable," opines MSN film critic Glenn Kenny.
"James Franco, while possessed of good features and a twinkly smile, is largely not very good as the wizard or wizard-to-be…. Once all the players are in proper position for a showdown, though, "Oz the Great and Powerful" really picks up, as does Franco. The last half hour of the movie is one of the most thrilling mixes of action, effects, 3-D technology and just overall breathtaking cinema storytelling in the fantasy genre that I've seen in quite some time. "
Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD, with the ten-minute featurette "Walt Disney and the Road to Oz" and bloopers. The Blu-ray editions includes more supplements: "My Journey in Oz, by James Franco," a 22-minute video journal directed by Franco; "Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz," on the look of the film; "China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief," "Metamorphosis," and "Mr. Elfman's Musical Concoctions." More supplements are available via the "Second Screen Experience" (which requires an iPad or other media device, a downloadable app and a connection to the same WiFi network as the Blu-ray player), and for the 3D release you have to access all the supplements through the bonus digital edition, which may be frustrating for viewers who just want to flip through the disc menu.
A clip from "My Journey in Oz, by James Franco" is included after the jump. Click on "More" below.
"Snitch" (Summit) sends trucking company owner Dwayne Johnson undercover as a drug smuggler to get a Mexican cartel and save his son from a federal prison sentence. ""Snitch" never gets quite pumping as an action film, but it's more than serviceable as a thriller and a drama punctuated with believable tension and real-world stakes," recommends film critic Kate Erbland for MSN. "Packaged together, "Snitch" is far better and more compelling that it needs to be, an unexpectedly drama-driven would-be action outing." Barry Pepper, Benjamin Bratt, and Susan Sarandon co-star.
Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary by director Ric Roman Waugh and editor Jonathan Chibnall, the multi-part "Privileged Information: The Making of Snitch," and deleted scenes. The Blu-ray features a digital copy of the film for portable media players and an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming. Also On Demand and at Redbox
"Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" (Paramount) stars Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as fairy tale character grown up into fantasy warriors. You can find an exclusive clip here, along with more information on the film and on the disc and digital releases.
Indies and oddities:
"Wrong" (Drafthouse) is a film that puts its aesthetic in the title. Directed by Quentin Dupieux, who made the killer tire movie "Rubber," this story of a man's search for his missing dog takes the audience into a surreal world where only the enigmatic Master Chang (William Fichtner) seems to know what's going on, or at least makes a good show of it. MSN film critic Kate Erbland calls it "a conceptual curio purely for hardcore cinephiles…. Most of "Wrong" zips along light-heartedly and with the maximum of mirth, and it's perhaps one of the best purely cinematic diversions to hit screens in quite some time."
Blu-ray and DVD with three featurettes and a 20-page booklet. The Blu-ray also includes a bonus digital copy for download.
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Aaron Sorkin plants his brand of workplace humor and liberal politics at HBO
I don't know if there has been a recent series as frustrating as "The Newsroom: The Complete First Season" (HBO), Aaron Sorkin's HBO original series set at a cable news channel that is remarkably idealistic and full of brilliant people who have sharp political instincts and poor impulse control. You know, the kind of workplace that Sorkin loves to play in.
Jeff Daniels is veteran news anchor Will MacAvoy, an old pro who has lost his mojo through apathy and then loses his staff after an otherwise routine appearance devolves into a public meltdown which, of course, goes viral. His rehabilitation comes with new crew, including a sharp producer and TV journalist (Emily Mortimer) who happens to be his former girlfriend, and a newly revamped show that wants to promote real journalist over sound-bite news entertainment. But what really gets his blood up and his editorial knives sharpened is the rise of the Tea Party. Because, in Sorkin's fantasy world, self-described Republican MacAvoy is determined to save the soul of his party by revealing the hypocrisy and idiocy of the so-called grass-roots movement.
Sorkin takes writing credit on all ten episodes of the debut season so there's no question who deserves the credit and the blame for what does and doesn't work in the series. He doesn't just wears his politics on his sleeve, he lets it dribble down his shirt, soil his pants, and soak his socks. MacAvoy is tetchy, sarcastic, and often insufferable, but his moral compass is always pointing in Sorkin's direction, and he lets his sanctimony fly just as free as the eccentricities of his characters: a dewy-eyed production assistant (Allison Pill) who acts like a goofy small town girl when she's not involved in high-stakes reporting, a crack researcher obsessed with crackpot theories (Dev Patel), and Mortimer herself, who turns to pudding whenever her emotions rise to the surface, which is often.
Sorkin's shows have always celebrated intelligence, ingenuity, and professionalism. Smart is attractive in his world, which is not always the case in TV drama, so it's especially frustrating when Sorkin has such smart people repeatedly make stupid decisions constantly through the series, shutting down their minds to act impulsively on their instincts as if they have no self-control whatsoever. It takes a crisis for this crew to put emotion aside and focus on the job, and in those moments they are a crack team. And yet, his affection for these characters is hard to resist, and for all the stupid screwball complication that such smart folks should never make, he spikes the scripts with wit and intelligence. The schizophrenic quality of it all is frustrating, but when it clicks, it's marvelous.
Ten episodes on Blu-ray and DVD, with commentary on five episodes with various iterations of creator Aaron Sorkin (on four tracks), executive producer Alan Poul, and cast members Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, Emily Mortimer, Olivia Munn, Alison Pill, and Thomas Sadoski, plus featurettes. "The Rundown" is a 25-minute roundtable discussion with Sorkin, Poul, co-executive producer Greg Mottola, and actors Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, and Sam Waterston discussing their first season experiences. The five-minute "Mission Control" is a promo-style behind-the-scenes piece, and there are shorter "Behind the Episode" featurettes for each episode, plus a few deleted scenes.
The Blu-ray also features bonus copies of the complete season on DVD (on two double-sided discs), digital download (via iTunes, Vudu or Amazon), and UltraViolet digital copy.
The new season begins on HBO in July.
Jeremy Renner talks about the world of the movie in the MSN exclusive clip
"Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters" (Paramount) continues Hollywood's love affair with fairy tales and fantasies reworked for a modern audiences with offbeat twists, oddball humor, and / or unexpected imagery.
In this case, there is quite the gore factor as Hansel and Gretel, now grown up and played by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, dressed in in leather armor and armed with steampunk weapons, dispatch wicked witches and other monsters preying on the hamlets of medieval Germany.
The film was critically lambasted (MSN film critic Kat Murphy writes that "it has all the terror and suspense and visual pizzazz of a downscale video game for dull-eyed teens happy to lap up lame wisecracks and lots of gore") but it became a surprise hit for its mix of self-aware humor and flying viscera (which is even more impressive in 3D).
"Is "Hansel & Gretel" a misunderstood camp horror blast, or just an odd, overdone misfire?" asks Don Kaye, editor of MSN's Parallel Universe. I opt for the latter but Kaye leaves the question open in his interview with director Tommy Wirkola.
On Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and DVD. The two Blu-ray editions feature an unrated version of the film that runs 10 minutes longer and three featurettes: "Reinventing Hansel & Gretel," "The Witching Hours," and "Meet Edward the Troll," plus a bonus copy of the film on DVD, a digital copy of the film for portable media players, an UltraViolet digital copy for download and instant streaming.
Also available On Demand, VOD, and at Redbox.
MSN has an exclusive clip from the supplements featuring Jeremy Renner discussing the world of the movie created by the filmmakers.
Ten weeks of non-fiction features direct from the festival circuit to HBO
"Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," a portrait of the Russian feminist art collective who became international figures when they were arrested and tried on charges of religious hatred, won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Punk Spirit at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
It also kicks off HBO's ten-week summer documentary series, which presents a new documentary feature every Monday night through August 12.
HBO has become one of the godfathers of documentary filmmaking, funding numerous projects every year by both new and established filmmakers, many of which end up winning awards on the film festival circuit and even occasionally securing a theatrical release before they show on the pay cable channel.
Like "Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer," which played theaters in New York and Los Angeles earlier this year. "It's Pussy Riot's aim to provoke—you don't give yourselves a name like that unless you want to attract attention," writes Village Voice film critic Stephanie Zacharek. "But the official government response affirms that what the group did—pull on some popsicle-colored balaclavas to jump around on an altar for a few minutes—is genuinely subversive. It struck a nerve, and the wound still stings."
The HBO Documentaries summer series continues on June 17 with "Love, Marilyn," a new portrait of the icon using rare footage, audiotapes, and recently discovered Marilyn Monroe letters and diaries from Academy Award nominee Liz Garbus ("The Farm: Angola USA"), followed by:
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A few classics and long-awaited favorites debuting on MOD
While many previously unavailable films have made their respective debuts in the DVD era, a lot of beloved movies that were once VHS staples still await disc release. The manufacture-on-demand format is where many of these films finally debut. Here are a few of the recent debuts.
Clifton Webb was best known as a dramatic authority figure and an imperious if prissy film noir icon in such films as "Laura" and "The Dark Corner" when he took his career into a whole new direction with "Sitting Pretty" (20th Century Fox Cinema Archives), playing the role of Lynn Belvedere, the self-proclaimed genius who takes a position as a live-in babysitter for a trio of bratty boys.
He's the intellectual in suburbia who has his own reasons for playing the manny, a position to which he is clearly not temperamentally suited for, but he throws himself into the project with befuddled aplomb and within days his unconventional mix of child psychology and strict discipline tame the three rambunctious kids, much to the relief of flustered parents Maureen O’Hara and Robert Young. Webb gets third billing but he commands the screen with those witheringly snide insults and cutting comments that roll off his tongue with comic effortlessness. The film was a hit and spawned two sequels. Fox's disc is full screen and the unrestored transfer looks perfectly fine.
"A Guy Named Joe" (Warner Archive), starring Spencer Tracy as a daredevil World War II fighter pilot who dies in action but returns a guardian angel to younger pilots and watches the woman he loved (Irene Dunne) fall in love with another pilot (Van Johnson), is a mix of wartime patriotism and romantic drama with a hint of spiritual approval. God was clearly on our side, if the angels were sending back veteran fighters to help out the American war effort. Victor Fleming directs from a script by Dalton Trumbo. The superb cast aside (Ward Bond, James Gleason, Lionel Barrymore, and Esther Williams co-star), it's probably most famous because Steven Spielberg called it one of his favorite films and remade it as "Always" in 1989.
The 1949 adaptation of "The Secret Garden" (Warner Archive) was not the first (that honor was nabbed by a 1919 production) but it is still the one that the subsequent versions are measured by. Famously shot in B&W with Technicolor sequences (taking a page from "The Wizard of Oz"), it stars Margaret O'Brien (of "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Little Women" fame) as the courageous Mary, young Dean Stockwell as her crippled cousin, and Herbert Marshall, Gladys Cooper, and Elsa Lanchester as the adult supervision. Director Fred M. Wilcox is the same filmmaker who created the delirious alien landscapes of "Forbidden Planet."
More recent arrivals:
"Sons and Lovers" (20th Century Fox Cinema Archives), the 1960 adaptation of the D.H. Lawrence novel from director Jack Cardiff, won the Academy Award for the black and white cinematography by Freddie Francis out of seven Oscar nominations (including Best Picture, Best Director for Jack Cardiff, Best Actor for Trevor Howard, and Best Adapted Screenplay). Dean Stockwell, Windy Hiller, Mary Ure, Donald Pleasance, and Ernest Thesiger co-star. This is 16x9 letterbox, which means widescreen but not anamorphic. Fox has still not quite figured this format out, but at least it's not pan-&-scan.
Robert Shaw headlines "The Hireling" (Sony Pictures Choice Collection) as the new chauffeur to widow Sarah Miles in the 1973 drama that won the Palm d'Or at Cannes in 1973. This disc is anamorphic widescreen.
"Sincerely Yours" (Warner Archive) is a musical vehicle for Liberace, who never made the leap from TV celebrity to movie star. This isn't his only film, but it remains his sole feature as a leading man.
"Penrod and Sam" (Warner Archive) is the first talking picture to bring Booth Tarkington's Penrod and Sam to the screen, with Leon Janney and Frank Coghlan Jr. as the title characters and William Beaudine directs.
Robert Taylor takes the lead in "The House of Seven Hawks" (Warner Archive), which borrows a few elements of "The Maltese Falcon" in its mystery of Dutch smugglers and mistaken identities.
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week
"Warm Bodies" (Summit) may not be the first zombie romantic comedy (or rom-zom-com), but it's the first and the sweetest mainstream story of undead love, thanks to director Jonathan Levine's facility for offbeat takes on familiar stories and the genial chemistry among both the human survivors (notably a dynamic and charming Teresa Palmer) and the shuffling undead (Nicholas Hoult as our zombie hero). Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox. Videodrone's review is here.
"A Good Day to Die Hard" (Fox) brings Bruce Willis back to the franchise for a fifth time, this go round in Moscow where he shows up to bail his estranged son out of jail and ends up in yet another mad genius criminal conspiracy. Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand.
"Identity Thief" (Universal) stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy in a so-comedy that MSN film critic Glenn Kenny condemns as "a long, tedious picture (Blu-ray, DVD, and On Demand) while the animated "Escape from Planet Earth" (Anchor Bay) didn't fare much better with the critics and was ignored by audiences (Blu-ray, DVD, On Demand, and at Redbox). The dark comedy "It's a Disaster" (Oscilloscope, Blu-ray and DVD), an indie about a couples brunch in the midst of the end of civilization as we know it, got better marks from the critics.
Foreign arrivals this week include "Sadako 3D" (Well Go, Blu-ray and DVD), a new chapter in the "Ring" horror series from Japan, and the coming of age film "The Giants" (Kino Lorber, DVD) from Belgium.
The monthly B-Sides round-up spotlights "Tomorrow You're Gone" (RLJ) with Stephen Dorff and Willem Dafoe and lists plenty of other new direct-to-disc and made-for-cable pictures. Find the complete rundown here.
Most releases are also available as digital download and VOD via iTunes, Amazon, and other web retailers and video services.
TV on Disc:
"Breaking Bad: The Fifth Season" (Sony) is more accurately "Season Five, Part One," with the first eight episodes of the final season of the one of the smartest, sharpest, most dramatically daring and accomplished shows on television. It completes his brutal evolution of Bryan Cranston's Walter White from desperate cancer victim to superstar meth cook to ruthless Godfather of his domain, and sets the stage for the final act to play out on AMC in the final eight episodes this summer. Blu-ray and DVD, with hours of supplements. Videodrone's review is here.
"Falling Skies: The Complete Second Season" (Warner) expands on the first season of the alien invasion drama by taking a look at the bigger picture, taking on bigger targets, and showing the destruction of war in the scars of the survivors. Apparently cable is indeed the home of the best science fiction on TV. 10 episodes, Blu-ray and DVD. Reviewed on Videodrone here.
A couple of the more unusual TV offerings this week, "Wilfred: The Complete Original Series" (Fabulous, DVD) presents all 16 episode of the original Australian series that inspired the FX version, and "A Token of His Extreme" (Eagle Vision, DVD) is the 1974 special produced by Frank Zappa for TV, but never broadcast in the US.
"The First Churchills" (Acorn) is the 1969 British mini-series about the ancestors of Sir Winston Churchill in 17th- and 18th-Century England, and "The Politician's Wife" (Acorn) is a 1995 production starring Juliet Stevenson, Trevor Eve, and Minnie Driver. Both DVD
"Mountain Men: Season 1" (Lionsgate, DVD) is the latest backwoods reality show from the History Channel.
Cool and Classic:
"The Mad Max Trilogy" (Warner) collects all three revved-up desert apocalypse films directed by George Miller and starring Mel Gibson in a new Blu-ray set: "Mad Max" (with the original Australian soundtrack), "The Road Warrior," and the Blu-ray debut of "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome." Videodrone's review is here.
"Clint Eastwood 40 Film Collection" (Warner) is the DVD set and "Clint Eastwood 20 Film Collection" (Warner) is the Blu-ray edition of this tribute to Clint at Warner Bros., and both editions feature the debut of the documentary "Eastwood Directs" on DVD. Videodrone's review is here and MSN is giving away a copy of the Blu-ray set – details on how to enter here.
Blu-ray debuts: "Electra Glide in Blue" (Shout Factory), the cult crime drama starring Robert Blake in his greatest role as an honorable motorcycle cop in a corrupt culture, and "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry / Race with the Devil" (Shout Factory), a double feature of seventies cult films with Peter Fonda.
Home video debuts: "Perfect Understanding" (Cohen) is a recently rediscovered 1933 British romantic comedy starring Gloria Swanson and young Laurence Olivier and scripted by Michael Powell, and Barbara Stanwyck stars in the 1950 film noir "The File on Thelma Jordan" (Olive). Neither film has appeared on disc or tape before, and both debut on Blu-ray and DVD.
Cult movies: "The Magic Christian" (Olive) with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr, William Castle's "Shanks" (Olive) with Marcel Marceau, and Alan Clarke's controversial "Scum" (Kino) with Ray Winstone. All Blu-ray and DVD.
More stars: Cary Grant stars in "Father Goose" (Olive) with Leslie Caron and "The Grass is Greener" (Olive) with Deborah Kerr and Robert Mitchum, Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck are "Blowing Wild" (Olive), and John Wayne challenges the "Dark Command" (Olive) of Walter Pidgeon. All Blu-ray and DVD.
Streams and Channels:
There's plenty of comedy on newly available to stream at Netflix Instant. The original "Bedazzled" (1967) with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore goofs on "Faust" with a sardonic schoolboy sacrilege and "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid" (1982) drops Steve Martin into dozens of film noir classics for a hilarious private detective spoof. Also newly arrives is "Super Troopers" (2002) from Broken Lizard and "A Shock to the System" (1990) with Michael Caine.
And here are a couple of classics: Douglas Sirk's glossy melodrama "Imitation of Life" (1959) with Lana Turner and the "Planet of the Apes" (1968) with Charlton Heston: “Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”
Turner Classic Movies devotes Friday nights in June to films from the great noir authors. Eddie Muller curates and hosts film noir programs that pay tribute to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, David Goodis, and others. More on Videodrone here.
Browse more Instant offerings here
New On Demand:
"Warm Bodies" offers zombie love with undead Nicholas Hoult and very much alive Teresa Palmer and Bruce Willis is back in the middle of the action in "A Good Day to Die Hard," which sends his to Moscow. Also available same day as disc is the comedy "Identity Thief" with Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy (in a longer unrated edition) and the animated "Escape From Planet Earth."
Arriving on Friday, June 7, the same as theatrical release, is the acclaimed documentary "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" from Alex Gibney, which gets a glowing review from MSN film critic James Rocchi here.
Available from Redbox this week:
Also arriving in Redbox kiosks this week: this season's Nicholas Sparks adaptation "Safe Haven" (Fox, Blu-ray and DVD) with Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, the horror film "Mama" with Jessica Chastain, and the direct-to-disc animated original feature "Superman Unbound" (Warner, DVD).
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