DID YOU READ

“Let” Them Entertain You and More New DVDs

“Let” Them Entertain You and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Let Me In” (2010)
Directed by Matt Reeves
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

“Never Let Me Go” (2010)
Directed by Mark Romanek
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Two of 2010’s most underrated films that approach their respective genres from radically different perspectives than most, “Cloverfield” director Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In” and Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go” will finally have the opportunity to stand out on home video. In “Let Me In,” Reeves applies some of his own biographical touchstones for this remake of Tomas Alfredson’s horror film about the unlikely friendship between a vampire (Chloe Moretz) and a lonely young boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Romanek’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s much-beloved sci-fi novel about a group of children raised apart from the rest of society for purposes that are unknown to them. (Alison Willmore’s reviews for “Let Me In” and “Never Let Me Go” and her interview with Romanek and Matt Singer’s interview with “Let Me In” composer Michael Giacchino can be found here.)

“Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” (2011)
Directed by Alex Zamm
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

Yes, there’s a direct-to-video sequel featuring the George Lopez-voiced tough-talking pooch who must save his owner’s home from foreclosure by entering into a dog show.

“Chain Letter” (2010)
Directed by Deon Taylor
Released by Image Entertainment

“Thirteen” star Nikki Reed and the gruff-voiced Keith David and Brad Dourif star in this horror flick about a high school circle of friends who are killed off one-by-one if they decide against passing along a threatening letter to each other.

“Conviction” (2010)
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Hilary Swank stars as Betty Anne Waters, the real-life attorney who went to law school solely to free her brother (a scene-stealing Sam Rockwell) who she believes has been wrongly accused in this drama directed by Tony Goldwyn. (Matt Singer’s interview with Rockwell and my interview with Goldwyn can be found here.)

“Death Tube 2” (2010)
Directed by Yohei Fukuda
Released by Cinema Epoch

Yohei Fukuda directed this second installment in the J-horror series about a group of killers who prey on each other online.

01282011_ElenaUndone.jpg“Elena Undone” (2010)
Directed by Nicole Conn
Released by Wolfe Video

Already noted for breaking the record for the longest onscreen kiss, Nicole Conn’s romantic drama concerns a lesbian author who finds love with the wife of a pastor.

“11 Harrowhouse” (1974)
Directed by Aram Avakian
Released by Shout! Factory

Charles Grodin and Candice Bergen star in this comedy where Grodin plays a diamond cutter whose job divided a top-grade rock turns into his inadvertent involvement in a jewelry heist.

“Farm Girl in New York” (2010)
Directed by J. Robert Spencer
Released by Maverick Entertainment Group

Not surprisingly a favorite of the upstate New York festival circuit in 2008, J. Robert Spencer’s romantic comedy centers on two smalltown guys who take off for the big city and soon find themselves writing a play about their experience as a way to meet women who audition for it.

“Forgotten Pills” (2009)
Directed by David Hefner
Released by Synkronized USA

A winner at last year’s Dances With Films festival, “Hell Ride”‘s Larry Bishop stars in David Hefner’s thriller about a group of friends who decide to raise hell when they have a vial of pills that erases their memory from the night before, though unfortunately it won’t erase the memories of who they harm in the process.

“Giulia Doesn’t Date at Night” (2009)
Directed by Giuseppe Piccioni
Released by Entertainment One

This Valeria Golino romantic drama from Italy about a man whose interest is piqued by his daughter’s mysterious swim teacher (Golino) was originally intended to get a U.S. theatrical release that never came, so this will be the first opportunity for Americans to see the multiple David Di Donatello nominee.

01282011_Hatchet2.jpg“Hatchet II” (2010)
Directed by Adam Green
Released by Dark Sky Films

Since Adam Green’s unrated slasher thriller controversially played less than a week in theaters, it’s fair to say this will also be the first chance for horror fans to see Danielle Harris’ Marybeth take revenge on the swampbound serial killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder), with additional creepiness thrown in by Tony Todd’s Reverend Zombie.

“Lucky Lady” (1975)
Directed by Stanley Donen
Released by Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory unearths this 1975 prohibition-set comedy that pits moonshine-runners Burt Reynolds and Gene Hackman against each other for the love of Liza Minnelli. Stanley Donen directs from a script by George Lucas collaborators William Huyck and Gloria Katz.

“Mean Girls 2” (2011)
Directed by Melanie Mayron
Released by Paramount Home Video

Although Lindsay Lohan might’ve been up for reprising her role as Cady Heron, only Tim Meadows will be returning for this DTV sequel to the 2004 comedy, which presumably will keep the meanness of high school cliques without neccessarily the wit of Tina Fey. (trailer)

“Monsters” (2010)
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Now that he’s been tapped to direct a new version of “Godzilla,” it’s high time audiences get familiar with this low-budget sci-fi wonder about a journalist (Scoot McNairy) and his boss’ daughter (Whitney Able) as they travel across Mexico after an alien invasion to a supposedly safe zone just across the U.S. border. (My interview with Edwards and Matt Singer’s consideration of the film is here.)

“Night Catches Us” (2010)
Directed by Tanya Hamilton
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Tanya Hamilton’s labor of love about stars Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington as Marcus and Pat, two ex-Black Panthers whose romantic reunion in Philadelphia after being apart for the better part of a decade is short-lived, thanks to a current Panther (“The Wire”‘s Jamie Hector) who wants Marcus’ head, a detective (Wendell Pierce) who wants to blackmail him and an unpredictable client (Amari Cheatom) of Pat’s pro bono law practice.

Pre-Code: “Hell Harbor”/”Jungle Bride” (1930/1933)
Directed by Henry King/Harry O. Hoyt
Released by VCI Entertainment

A double bill of uncensored tales of murder and mayhem with a foreign flavor, this set includes “Hell Harbor,” the story of a woman who flees an arranged marriage with an eye toward Havana with an American she falls for, though he’s targeted for murder. “Jungle Bride” also takes place in a tropical locale as a woman convinced of her imprisoned brother’s innocence in a murder takes her fiancé on a hunt to find the real killer and winds up deserted on an island off of South America.

“The Prowler” (1951)
Directed by Joseph Losey
Released by VCI Entertainment

Then-blacklisted Dalton Trumbo helped write the script without credit for this favorite noir of Manny Farber and James Ellroy about a policeman called to the residence of a deejay and his wife and becomes infatuated with the missus while plotting to murder the husband. Matt Zoller Seitz’s video essay gives a taste.

“Quantum Apocalypse” (2010)
Directed by Justin Jones
Released by First Look Pictures

A comet is on a collision course towards Earth and it’s up to four scientists to stop it in this low-budget sci-fi flick.

“Red River” (2010)
Directed by Jacob Ennis
Released by Bloody Earth Films

Not to be confused with the John Wayne classic, Jacob Ennis’ horror film tells the story of Roland Thatcher, a private man in Kentucky who really doesn’t like it when a group of kids begin to encroach on his property.

“Rhineland” (2007)
Directed by Chris Grega
Released by VCI Entertainment

Chris Grega’s 2007 World War II drama focuses on a soldier who is thrust into the heat of conflict and comes to rely on a lieutenant and sergeant who have long since lost the desire to be on the battlefield.

01282011_Skin.jpg“Skin” (2008)
Directed by Anthony Fabian
Released by Entertainment One

A festival favorite, “Hotel Rwanda”‘s Sophie Okonedo stars as Sandra Laing, a black South African born to white parents (Alice Krige and Sam Neill), causing upheaval in her community and her family during apartheid in this true-life drama.

“The Tillman Story” (2010)
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“My Kid Could Paint That” documentarian Bar-Lev demystifies the 2004 death of the NFL star-turned-soldier in Afghanistan. Through interviews with Pat Tillman’s mother Dannie and his widow Marie, as well as friends and fellow soldiers, the film goes into the U.S. military’s cover-up of his death caused by friendly fire and the true heroism of the former Arizona Cardinal that far exceeded the image cultivated by the government in his wake. (Aaron Hillis’ interview with Bar-Lev and my review are here.)

“Welcome to the Rileys” (2010)
Directed by Jake Scott
Released by Samuel Goldwyn Films

This drama stars James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo as Doug and Lois Riley, an Indiana married couple that’s still struggling with the death of their daughter eight years earlier when Doug is shaken out of his stupor by his nonsexual encounter with Kristen Stewart’s lady of the night during a business trip to New Orleans. (Coverage of the film’s premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival.)

“A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop” (2010)
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

“Hero” director Yimou helmed this rare Chinese remake of an American film with his own spin on the Coen brothers’ “Blood Simple” where the humble owner of a the titular noodle shop in Imperial China plots to murder his unfaithful (and neglected) wife and her lover.

New to Blu-ray: Blake Edwards’ “10”, “An Affair to Remember”, Disney’s 1960 animated classic “Alice in Wonderland”, “All About Eve”, Sean Penn’s “Bad Boys”, “Boys Don’t Cry”, “The Double Life of Veronique” (Criterion), the Forest Whitaker basketball drama “Hurricane Season”, “Pleasantville”, “Ray”, Paul W.S. Anderson’s “Shopping”, “You’ve Got Mail”

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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