Michael Bay's third rock 'em sock 'em giant robot spectacular is all action and no sense
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (Paramount), Michael Bay's third rock 'em sock 'em giant robot spectacular, was shot and designed for 3D, a format that forced the director to slow his chaotic editing down and create a coherent action canvas. While the DVD and Blu-ray are standard format, they too benefit from the restraint: you can actually see the transformations unfold and the action play out. It's just the story that makes no sense.
What passes for a screenplay involves the discovery of Sentinel Prime, the former leader of the Autobots, on the dark side of the moon, and the Decipticon plot to enslave humanity to rebuild their homeworld. At least, that's the part that doesn't concern once and future hero Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) trying to land a job. Seriously, the kid who save saved the world -- twice -- and essentially signed the greatest living weapons in the universe to an exclusive partnership with the American military can't land a job, merely a supremely hot and utterly vacant new model girlfriend (Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in her acting debut, though there's less action than posing and walking around seductively in runway fashions and underwear) and an absurdly luxurious Washington D.C. loft. What, no one in the Defense Department will give the guy a letter of recommendation?
Anyway, after an ingenious hook of an opening scene, Bay and screenwriter Ehren Kruger pile on caricatures (John Turturro as the obsessive Agent Simmons, John Malkovich as eccentric software genius Bruce Brazos) and comedy scenes (special credit to Alan Tudyk, who vamps tired bits with madcap commitment and wild intensity) until Sentinel Prime is revived with the voice of Leonard Nimoy (complete with gratuitous "Star Trek" gag) and the evil Decipticon scheme is revealed. Then the film revs up for an hour of non-stop combat. Because when you get down to it, this is a movie about giant alien robots who go to war in Chicago and destroy half the city along the way. Who needs a story?
Videodrone's take on the biggest, best, coolest and culty-ist releases of the week.
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (Paramount), Michael Bay's third rock 'em sock 'em giant robot spectacular, was shot and designed for 3D, which forced the director to slow his chaotic editing down and create a coherent action canvas. While the DVD and Blu-ray are standard format, they too benefit from the restraint: you can actually see the transformations unfold and the action play out. It's just the story that makes no sense. But then again, it's a movie about giant alien robots who go to war in the city of Chicago and destroy half the city along the way, so who needs a story? Note that this is a Friday, September 30 release and features no supplements. Expect a special edition and a Blu-ray 3D version by the holidays. Videodrone's review is here.
"Carlos" (Criterion), Olivier Assayass' epic account of the life and myth of real-life terrorist Carlos the Jackal, is a mesmerizing portrait of committed activist who transforms himself into a media-hungry rock star of an international terrorist. It is packed with incident and detail and moves at a remarkable for its entire five-and-a-half-plus hour running time. Videodrone's review is here.
Also new this week: the thriller "The Ledge" (IFC) with Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler and Patrick Wilson, the Hong Kong gangster flick "The Stool Pigeon" (Well Go USA) with Nicholas Tse and "Viva Riva!" (Music Box), an award-winning, adrenaline-charged African crime thriller set in Kinsasha, Congo, among a generous collection of foreign language films this week.
TV on DVD:
"The Hour" (BBC), a BBC mini-series set in the fifties, is an odd but intriguing hybrid of journalism drama and Cold War conspiracy thriller, all set in the crucible of a fresh, adventurous TV news hour that pushes against the suffocating government restrictions on reporting. Though the soap opera diversions tend to distract, it builds to a dynamic climax that creates high tension out of low-key defiance. Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai and Dominic West star. Videodrone's review is here.
"Queer as Folk (Original U.K. Series): The Complete Collection" (Acorn) presents the entire run of the groundbreaking British series created by Russell T. Davies. Set in the gay culture of Manchester, it also launched the careers of Aidan Gillen ("Game of Thrones") and Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy"). Of course, being British, "Complete" means that it's a mere six episodes.
"How to Make It in America: The Complete First Season" (HBO) is the half-hour HBO comic-drama and "Call Me Fitz: The Complete First Season" (eOne) is a black comedy starring Jason Priestly, originally made for Canadian cable.
Plus the continuing shows keep rolling out. On the comedy side, we have "How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season Six" (Fox), "The Middle: The Complete Second Season" (Warner) and HBO's "Hung: The Complete Second Season" (HBO), while on the drama side the entire "CSI" franchise rolls out: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – The Eleventh Season" (Paramount), which is final season for Laurence Fishburne, "CSI: Miami – The Ninth Season" (Paramount) and "CSI: New York - The Seventh Season" (Paramount).
Cool, Classic and Cult:
"Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938" (Image) is the kind of labor of love that makes my job so much fun. This collection of features, shorts, documentaries, newsreels, travelogues and fragments from the silent and early sound era is more about preservation and education than simple entertainment, but it is entertaining as well as revealing. It's a record of the American West as it was transforming from frontier to modern world, as viewed through fictional representations and documentary recordings. The richness of offerings and the span of formats presents a visual record that makes the case for film preservation better than any lecture. All this and Clara Bow, flirting her way through the Yukon.
"The Phantom Carriage" (Criterion) is considered one of the masterpieces of the early twenties and the greatest film of Sweden's silent era, and for good reason. It's a gorgeous film with understated performances, haunting imagery and a human drama as compelling as any modern masterpiece. Criterion presents its long-awaited home video debut in a superb edition on DVD and Blu-ray.
"To Be Twenty" (RaroVideo) is a sexploitation youth drama rarity from gangster movie specialist Fernando di Leo and "The Cloud-Capped Star" (Facets) is Indian film master Ritwik Ghatak's 1960 family melodrama set in Calcutta.
"Ben-Hur: 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition" (Warner) is the latest Oscar-winning epic to the Blu-ray treatment in a newly-remastered HD edition. Yes, it is a big, lumbering epic that can barely support its own weight, but then it has the square shoulder of the even squarer Charlton Heston to hold it up, and the new edition features a new documentary on Heston as well as documentaries on the film and a DVD edition of the original silent version of the film from 1925. Videodrone's review is here.
"Footloose" (Paramount) gets its HD debut as the remake is set to hit theaters and Videodrone has an exclusive clip. Kino continues rolling out Keaton on Blu-ray with "Buster Keaton: Go West / Battling Butler" (Kino), reviewed on Videodrone here.
Guillermo Del Toro reworks his American film debut with "Mimic: The Director's Cut" (Lionsgate) and "The Blood Trilogy" (Image) features the Blu-ray debut of three grindhouse gore classics from Herschel Gordon Lewis.
The complete calendar of releases this week is after the jump:
|Tags:||Week in review|
The blockbusters are lining up on DVD and Blu-ray for your holiday dollars
"Captain America: The First Avenger" (Paramount) has been announced for release next month. On October 25, the World War II superhero film will arrive on Blu-ray, DVD and a Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, in editions packed with featurettes and other supplements.
The next month, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" (Warner) brings to an end the epic journey of "the boy who lived" with the final installment on home video.
Friday, November 11, you'll be able to complete that match set on both Blu-ray and DVD, plus it will be available via Digital Download and OnDemand for those who aren't set on owning the set.
And in December the Wolf Pack is back for "The Hangover Part II" (Warner), arriving on December 6 on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Download and OnDemand.
Also recently announced:
"Horrible Bosses" (Warner), arriving October 11 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Download and OnDemand
"Crazy, Stupid, Love." (Warner), coming November 1 on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital Download and OnDemand
"Super 8" (Paramount), set for November 22 on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and single-disc DVD
Your guide to our coverage of the new DVD/Blu-ray releases
Here's what's new on DVD and Blu-ray this week as featured on Videodrone
"Bridesmaids" Gone Wild
TV on DVD:
Emmy Winners: "Modern Family," "Mike & Molly" and "The Kennedys"
'Hawaii Five-0: The First Season' – The Next Generation
TV on DVD Channel Guide: Emmy winners, new shows, old shows, continuing shows and more
The Cool and the Collectible:
Classics: 'Le Beau Serge' and 'Les Cousins'
'Star Wars: The Complete Saga' - Version 3.0
Wes Craven's original 'Last House On The Left' and 'The Hills Have Eyes'
Blu-ray Round-up: 'Dumbo,' ,'Breakfast at Tiffany's,' 'The Others' and more
Watching with Kristin Wiig: Talking movies and DVDs with the star and co-writer of "Bridesmaids"
Coming up next week:
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (Paramount) (Friday, September 30)
"Good Neighbors" (Magnolia)
"Viva Riva!" (Music Box)
"The Stool Pigeon" (Well Go USA)
"Angel of Evil" (Fox)
"Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938" (Image)
"The Phantom Carriage" (Criterion)
"The Hour" (BBC)
"How to Make It in America: The Complete First Season" (HBO)
"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – The Eleventh Season" (Paramount)
"CSI: Miami – The Ninth Season" (Paramount)
"CSI: New York - The Seventh Season" (Paramount)
"How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Season Six" (Fox)
"The Middle: The Complete Second Season" (Warner)
"Hung: The Complete Second Season" (HBO)
"The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season Two" (Fox)
"Army Wives: The Complete Fifth Season" (Disney)
"Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition" (Blu-ray) (Warner)
"Mimic: The Director's Cut" (Blu-ray) (Lionsgate)
"The Blood Trilogy" (Blu-ray) (Image)
"Basket Case" (Blu-ray) (Image)
|Tags:||Week in review|
And only a week after it was released
Variety reported today that "Star Wars: The Complete Saga" sold more than a million units worldwide, breaking records to become the best selling Blu-ray release of all time.
And it's not even Christmas.
The set was released on Monday, September 12 in Britain, Australia and Sweden and Friday, September 19 in the U.S. and elsewhere. Which means that, for the most part, it took merely a week to shoot to the top, though in the current culture of Internet sales and deep-discount pre-orders, those numbers were building for months before it was even released.
Variety reports that sales for the nine-disc set broke 1 million units, a first for Blu-ray, with 515,000 sold in the U.S. alone.
Variety reports that sales for the nine-disc set broke 1 million units, a first for Blu-ray, with 515,000 sold in the U.S. alone. That translates to about $84 million worldwide, according to a press release from Fox, which was quick to spread the news.
This is not necessarily a surprise but it is good news for the high definition format. Blu-ray sales are growing while DVD sales drop, but the increase is not enough to make up the difference in the home video market. It is, however, a boost for Blu-ray, a format that gets more popular with improvements in home theater technology.
George Lucas angered many die-hard fans by releasing only his revised versions of the original trilogy ("Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi"), which include added special effects and new and/or altered scenes (the notorious "Greedo shoots first" in "Star Wars" and, new to this edition, Vader's "Nooooooo!" at the climax of "Jedi," among the most egregious to the faithful), but such revisionism didn't appear to deter sales.
Videodrone's review of "Star Wars: The Complete Saga is here.
Plus 'The Others,' 'Manhunter' and more
The 1941 Disney animated classic about a little circus pachyderm with big ears and the unlikely ability to fly, makes its Blu-ray debut with "Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition" (Disney) in newly remastered edition. It was Disney's fourth animated feature and, if slight of story, is as beautiful as any of their classics. The Blu-ray features all of the featurettes and other supplements from previous releases except the commentary by animator and historian John Canemaker on the "60th Anniversary Edition," which it replaces with a new commentary track by Pete Docter, Paula Sigman and Andreas Deja. This comes out in both DVD and Blu-ray editions this week, but exclusive to the Blu-ray is a "Cine-Explore" picture-in-picture mode with commentators plus video clips, vintage interviews, art and other supplementary material, and two bonus animated shorts.
DVD Beaver Lensview critic Leonard Norwitz gives it high marks for color, clarity and restoration, though is less impressed with the new dts-HD 7.1 remix (the disc also includes restored stereo), and offers screencap comparison to the previous DVD release. Adam Gregorich at Home Theater Forum has a marvelous feature on the restoration of "Dumbo" and the preservation of the Disney library.
Audrey Hepburn is perfection as carefree and kooky New York party girl Holly Golightly in "Breakfast At Tiffany’s" (Paramount), Blake Edwards’ sparkling adaptation of Truman Capote's bittersweet novella. Holly's not exactly a hooker in this somewhat gentile take, directed by Blake Edwards from George Axelrod's adaptation, but she does live off dates. That gives her at least one thing in common with George Peppard's aspiring novelist Paul Varjak, who gets by as a “kept man” (Patricia Neal does the keeping). Mickey Rooney’s buck-toothed turn as the Japanese landlord is an insulting racial stereotype that only looks worse with age, but the film is otherwise a smoothly handsome and quietly elegant romantic drama with playful touches of humor. Blake Edwards was a real hand at comedy, but this film brought out another side of the director that is often forgotten. It won Oscars for Henry Mancini’s lovely score and the movie’s legendary theme song “Moon River” by Mancini and Johnny Mercer.
The Blu-ray features the supplements from the "Centennial Collection" DVD release a couple of years ago, namely commentary by producer Richard Shepherd and a bunch of featurettes. Actors from the party scene have a reunion to discuss the scene and cocktail culture of the era in "A Golightly Gathering," the "yellowface" stereotype is dissected in "Mr. Yunioshi: An Asian Perspective," and "Henry Mancini: More Than Music" profiles the composer, and all of these are presented in HD. The rest of the featurettes (in SD) include the cursory "The Making of a Classic," "It’s So Audrey: A Style Icon," "Behind The Gates: The Tour" and "Brilliance In A Blue Box" (a brief history of the jewelry story Tiffany and Co.). Also includes “Audrey's Letter to Tiffany,” galleries of stills and posters and the original trailer. Archivist Robert Harris gives it his seal of approval here.
Nicole Kidman hides with her sunlight-averse kids in a gloomy mansion haunted by something truly frightening in "The Others" (Lionsgate), an inspired spin on Henry James’ "Turn of the Screw" set in an isolated Irish manor house in the closing days of World War II. Directed by Spanish stylist Alejandro Amenabar ("The Sea Inside"), this spooky little gothic ghost story is shrouded in the darkness of a perpetually shadowy house enveloped in a seemingly eternal fog. Kidman’s fragile performance, with her terrified eyes and barely controlled voice catching in her throat, is perfectly modulated. It’s a genuinely shiver inducing ghost story that plays mood over shocks, and one of the most interesting portraits denial and acceptance you’ll find in the movies. Includes four featurettes.
The new Blu-ray editions of Wes Craven's "Last House On The Left: Unrated Collector’s Edition" (Fox) and "The Hills Have Eyes" (Image) are reviewed on Videodrone here.
Hannibal Lecter made his first screen debut in Michael Mann's "Manhunter" (Fox), starring William Peteren and Joan Allen and featuring Brian Cox as Lecter, but it was Anthony Hopkins who made Lecter a star, in essence, and takes top billing in "Hannibal" (Fox), the sequel to "Silence of the Lambs" with Julianne Moore taking over Jodie Foster's role
And there are more sequels this week: "Robocop 2" (Fox) with Peter Weller and Nancy Allen and Irvin Kershner taking the reigns from Paul Verhoeven, "Poltergeist II" (Fox), with Brian Gibson in the director's seat, and a couple of comedies. "Scary Movie 3: Unrated" (Lionsgate) is my vote for the funniest spoof in the series, thanks to the brilliant decision of inviting "Airplane!" co-director David Zucker to reboot the crude comedy with his brand of humor. And when I say "crude comedy," I'm referring to the likes of "Scary Movie 2" (Lionsgate).
The original 'Last House On The Left' and 'The Hills Have Eyes'
Today Wes Craven is best known for creating Freddie Kreuger and the "A Nightmare on Elm Screet" franchise and for his self-aware "Scream" films, but back in the seventies he helped usher in the modern age of horror, along with George Romero ("Night of the Living Dead"" and Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre").
"Last House On The Left: Unrated Collector’s Edition" (Fox), Craven's directorial debut, may be the only horror remake of an Ingmar Bergman film, though it feels more like a bargain basement Peckinpah. A violent criminal family kidnaps, rapes, and brutally murders a pair of teenage girls and then takes refuge under the roof of the girl’s own home, where the parents methodically plot their vengeance. At times awkward and inconsistent, with distracting comic interludes, Craven’s handling of the brutal horror scenes is unsettling and the death of the daughter is an unexpectedly quiet and beautifully lyrical moment, and the primitive look of the film only enhances the unexpectedly powerful moments of grace and sensitivity
Five years later he returned "The Hills Have Eyes" (Image), just as notorious as his debut but with a whole new backdrop of savagery. A bickering family on the road to California with a station wagon and a trailer home takes a side-trip into the no man’s land of a desolate desert and breaks down near the cave home of a cannibal tribe on the hunt for fresh meat. It’s modern nuclear family versus wild desert dwelling clan, the latter led by a psychotic patriarch with a taste for human flesh he’s passed to his demented children. Craven shoots the film in a desolate plain ringed with the jagged prehistoric rock ranges, a savage land where the civilized are forced to resort to savagery to survive the human predators who rule it. It’s the feature debut of Dee Wallace and the break-out role for the unforgettable Michael Berryman, a man whose birth defects gave him with a bullet-head, a lizard face, and bulging eyes: one of the most cinematic faces in modern horror films.
"Last House On The Left: Unrated Collector’s Edition" features two commentary tracks (one by writer/director Wes Craven and producer Sean Cunningham, the other by actors David Hess, Marc Sheffler and Fred Lincoln), the solid 40-minute documentary " Celluloid Crime Of The Century," the featurettes " Still Standing: The Legacy Of Last House On The Left" and "Scoring Last House," deleted scenes and an unfinished short film.
"The Hills Have Eyes" features commentary by director Wes Craven and producer Peter Locke, the excellent original 50-minute production "Looking Back on The Hills Have Eyes" and the more hour-long cable production "The Directors: The Films of Wes Craven, plus an alternate ending (Craven did well to cut the weird, awkward attempt at a hopeful ending), galleries of production stills, art, and storyboards, all ported over from the 2003 Anchor Bay DVD edition.
'Landmarks of Early Soviet Film,' 'Visions of Eight,' 'The Inspector General' and more
"Le beau Serge" (Criterion) and "Les cousins" (Criterion), the first two films from Claude Chabrol, mark the official birth of the French nouvelle vague. They make their long-awaited DVD and Blu-ray debuts in beautifully-mastered editions from Criterion. Videodrone's review is here.
"Landmarks of Early Soviet Film: A Four-Disc DVD Collection Of 8 Groundbreaking Films" (Flicker Alley) may sound like dry lesson plan in film history on the surface but the diversity of films, from dynamic dramas to witty comedies to striking documentaries, makes this collection a revelation for lovers of silent films, classic cinema and adventurous filmmaking. Along with classic works from celebrated masters Sergei Eisenstein ("Old and New") and Dziga Vertov ("Stride, Soviet!") are less familiar but equally rewarding and, yes, entertaining films. And all of them dedicated to the principles of montage.
"The Extraordinary Adventures of Mr. West in the Land of the Bolsheviks" (1924), from film theorist turned director Lev Kuleshov, is a political cartoon of a Soviet satire that knowingly spoofs American stereotypes of "Bolshevik revolutionaries" while embracing equally absurd American clichés, including a cowboy sidekick (played by future director Boris Barnet) who shoots up the streets of Moscow. By the end, of course, our wide-eyed, gullible Mr. West (looking like a middle-aged Harold Lloyd) sees the true glories of the Soviet ideal.
"By the Law" (1926), "the third work of the Kuleshov Collective" and based on a Jack London story, couldn't be different, a harrowing survival drama about gold prospectors in the Yukon. The danger comes from within, however, when one of the shareholders in the mining camp goes ballistic and starts shooting his partners. For a film set in the great outdoors, it becomes palpably claustrophobic as they hole up in a cabin, trapped by rising waters and all but held hostage by their determination to keep the killer prisoner for the authorities. The tension is grueling and the climax is haunting.
Boris Barnet's "The House on Trubnaya Square" (1928) is, to date, my favorite comedy from the silent era of Soviet cinema, a slapstick odyssey of a naive peasant worker from the provinces who comes to the big city hired, gets hired as a maid in a madcap rooming house and learns about the glories of unionization between comic adventures. Barnet's embrace of montage filmmaking is less about ideas than rhythm and momentum, but he also liked to fill the screen with activity and energy , and the result is the liveliest film of the collection. Sergei Eisenstein's "Old and New" (1929), also known as "The General Line," is his final silent film and in many way the most conceptually adventurous production.
The first two discs in the set present four classic fiction films -- comedies and dramas both, all with bright scores from Robert Israel -- and the final two present a quartet of Soviet documentaries, films just as diverse as the fictions. "Stride, Soviet!" (1926) is the first feature from Dziga Vertov, a filmmaker whose dedication to montage often took the form of experimental filmmaking and impressionistic imagery. Esfir Shub’s "Fall of the Romanov Dynasty" (1927) is drawn entirely from pre-Soviet Russian newsreels repurposed and redefined through her organization and editing. Victor Turin’s "Turksib" (1930), which chronicles the construction of the Turkestan-Siberian railway, turned a Soviet industrial assignment into a dynamic film and a popular hit with audiences. And the most visually exciting of the quartet is Mikhail Kalatozov’s "Salt for Svanetia" (1930). Intended as a propaganda piece about the Soviet state bringing the modern world to isolated lands with medieval sensibilities and crippling poverty, it's mix of cultural documentary and expressionist historical study dramatizes its subject with imagery and recreations that turns documentary into drama with a passion. Features scores by Eric Beheim, Alexander Rannie and Zoran Borisavljevic.
Half the films come from excellent HD masters from Lobster Films in Paris and look superb, the rest from older video masters from David Shepard dating back to the VHS days. These latter films are adequate but lack the clarity and stability of the new masters. Given the ambition and the sheer philanthropy of this project, however -- this is the very definition of labor of love, boxing up eight silent films that, on their own, would be familiar to only a tiny fraction of the disc-buying audience -- it is a forgivable compromise. No video supplements but the box set of four discs in four thinpak cases comes with a new booklet with substantial essays by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Ana Olenina, who also served as advisers on the set.
"Visions of Eight" (Olive) profiles the 1972 Munich Olympics through the lens of eight major directors but it's less a sports documentary than survey of impressions introduced by the directors themselves. "I am not interested in sports but I am interested in obsessions," explains Mai Zetterling before her segment "The Strongest," which follows the weightlifters from the training room to the competition, focusing on their preparations and their focus. Arthur Penn slows high-jumpers and pole-vaulters to silently watch them in motion in "The Highest" and Kon Ichikawa performs the same study on sprinters in "The Fastest." Other directors include Juri Ozerov ("The Beginning"), Michael Pfleghar ("The Women"), Milos Forman ("The Decathlon") and Claude Lelouch ("The Losers"), while John Schlesinger breaks the single-minded focus on athletes and competition with the only glimpses of the terrorist kidnapping of the Israeli athletes, which recasts the marathon in his segment, "The Longest," with a reminder of world outside. Framed by the perspective of a single competitor, it makes this the most compelling and revealing segment of an otherwise lovely but insubstantial feature.
"hitRECord RECollection" (hitREcord), a multimedia collection of short films, music and art collected in a hardcover book, is described by producer Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an "open collaborative production company." Not just art created by its contributors, but added to and reworked in a collaborative process. Gordon-Levitt discusses the project at indieWIRE here.
"The Inspector General" (Shout! Factory), the 1949 Danny Kaye musical farce about a medicine show performer mistaken for a government official and targeted by assassins, is one of those hit studio comedies that got lost to the public domain and found by all sorts of cheap labels that churned out terrible, sometimes unwatchable editions, first on VHS and then on DVD. Shout! Factory offers the first decent edition on DVD, and includes silent home movie footage taken on the set of the film (with commentary by Robert Koster, son of director Henry Koster) and the two-reel 1938 comedy "Money on Your Life" with a pre-stardom Kaye.
"Blue Sunshine" (Flatiron), Jeff Leiberman’s 1978 acid flashback horror with a brain-frying afterburn, isn’t exactly a drug scare movie, but it plays on the fear that psychedelics ingested as hippies are internal time bombs in adult yuppies. Future erotic movie producer and soft-core cable king Zalman King stars as a would-be victim of a good friend who loses his hair and then loses his mind, erupting in a homicidal fury. You might expect this cult oddity to be a campy goof, but Leiberman makes the rage-driven horror scenes just a little off balance, what with the wigs slipping off to reveal their hairless domes, and the undercurrent of black humor and yuppie social satire gives the it clever spin. Previously available from Synapse, this new edition features a new 40-minute interview with director Jeff Leiberman but none of the supplements from the old out-of-print disc.
John Mills stars in "The History of Mr. Polly" (VCI), a 1949 British comedy based on the novel of H.G. Wells.
The horrors, the horrors:
"ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest 2" (Anchor Bay), the sequel to Robert Hall's cult horror, arrives direct to DVD and Blu-ray with a cast that includes Brian Austin Green, Johnathon Schaech and Danielle Harris. Includes commentary and featurettes.
"L.A. Zombie" (Strand), starring Francois Sagat as an undead alien, is the latest gay-themed project from underground director Bruce LaBruce, this one combining horror and porn. Daniel Baldwin and James Russo star in the demon monster movie "Born of Earth" (eOne). "After Dark Originals: 51" (Lionsgate) is SyFy Original invasion movie with Vanessa Branch and Bruce Boxleitner and "Secrets in the Wall" (Vivendi), with Jeri Ryan and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, is a paranormal thriller originally made for the Lifetime Network. "Deadtime Stories, Volume 2" (Millennium) is a new anthology of short horror films "presented" by George Romero.