A Week Of Discoveries on DVD* (Not Requiring a Gun to Find Them)

A Week Of Discoveries on DVD* (Not Requiring a Gun to Find Them) (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD today:

“Meskada” (2010)
Directed by Josh Sternfeld
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment

When this thriller premiered at Tribeca this past spring, Alison Willmore wrote, “the second film from writer/director Josh Sternfeld (“Winter Solstice”) has ambitions reaching beyond being a straightforward police procedural,” though critics, including her, were mixed about the end result. Nick Stahl and Rachel Nichols star as small-town sleuths who investigate a botched home invasion case that claims the life of a young child in an affluent community and enflames class divisions when the main suspects are from the poorer community nearby. Grace Gummer, Meryl Streep’s second daughter to go into the family profession, makes her film debut.

“Anywhere USA” (2008)
Directed by Chusy Haney-Jardine
Released by Cinevolve Studios

Winner of a Spirit of Independence prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Chusy Haney-Jardine’s collection of three comic vignettes involves a relationship that threatens to go sour when a woman consistently beats her boyfriend at tennis, an elder gentleman’s epiphany, and a young girl whose curiosity gets the best of her. Writing for Cinematical, James Rocchi approved quite heartily of the film back during its debut, though it may have been too absurdist for a wider release.

“The Associate” (1979)
Directed by Rene Gainville
Released by Pathfinder Home Entertainment

This French comic thriller stars Michel Serrault as a down-on-his-luck businessman who finds success after creating a fictional partner only to become jealous when his wife and child become infatuated with the partner they’ve never seen, leading Serrault to plot a murder of the man who doesn’t really exist.

“Battle of Los Angeles” (2011)
Directed by Mark Atkins
Released by The Asylum

Kel Mitchell and Nia Peeples headline this disaster flick that has completely, absolutely, positively nothing to do with the Aaron Eckhart blockbuster “Battle: LA,” though both share a premise of aliens descending upon Los Angeles and the words “Battle, Los, and Angeles” in the title.

“Bedrooms” (2010)
Directed by Youssef Delara
Released by Osiris Entertainment

“Dexter”‘s Julie Benz, Xander Berkeley, and Moon Bloodgood are all part of this ensemble drama featuring several couples facing make-or-break moments in their relationship as a married couple (Benz and Berkeley) grapple with one sleeping with the pizza delivery man, an older couple (Dee Wallace Stone and Barry Bostwick) who are threatened by a past relationship, and a younger couple (Jordan Belfi and Bloodgood) who are having problems connecting to each other intimately.

“The Big I Am” (2010)
Directed by Nic Auerbach
Released by Entertainment One

Nic Auerbach’s first feature fits nicely into the tradition of British crime dramas as it features a low-level hood (Leo Gregory) on the rise if only he can come to terms with how ruthless he must become. Michael Madsen co-stars because why not?

“Blood” (2010)
Directed by Ten Shimoyama
Released by Well Go USA

A vampire (Aya Sugimoto) bewitches both a swordsman (Jun Kaname) and a detective (Kanji Tsuda) looking into a murder committed at her home in this Japanese thriller with a horror twist.

“Consinsual” (2010)
Directed by Paul Hannah
Released by Entertainment One

Director Paul Hannah explores the aftermath when a woman accuses her husband of rape in this martial drama.

“Dark Fields” (2009)
Directed by Doug Schulze
Released by Entertainment One

The slow march of the late David Carradine’s final films continues with Doug Schulze’s horror film (originally called “The Rain”) about a family farm cursed over three generations to sacrifice one of their own to bring rain. Dee Wallace Stone and Richard Lynch co-star.

03222011_Devolved.jpg“Devolved” (2011)
Directed by John Cregan
Released by MPI Home Video

The much-beloved cult DVD label Severin dipped their toe into first-run distribution with this teen comedy about a group of high schoolers whose spring break doesn’t go according to plan when their cruise ship gets lost off the Mexican coast and the already existing tensions between two cliques deepen further between those who are ready to leave high school and those who are afraid to face the future. At least they have kegs and Chris Kattan to keep them company.

“Eclipse Series 26: Silent Naruse”
Directed by Mikio Naruse
Released by Criterion Collection

Despite being nearly as acclaimed in his native Japan as the internationally worshipped Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse’s character studies aren’t nearly as well known, yet Criterion aims to change all that with this collection of the director’s only five silent films to survive, which have never been released in the U.S. on DVD before, including “Flunky, Work Hard,” “No Blood Relation,” “Apart From You,” “Every Night Dreams” and “Street Without End.”

“Family Secret” (2010)
Directed by Geno McGahee
Released by Tempe Video

The grandmother in Geno McGahee’s horror film is not kind.

“How Do You Know” (2010)
Directed by James L. Brooks
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

James L. Brooks’ much-maligned romantic comedy may get a second life on home video where the more eccentric charms of this Reese Witherspoon-Owen Wilson-Paul Rudd love triangle. Witherspoon stars as a softball player who’s set up on a blind date the same day she gets cut from her team, which coincidentally is also when the man she’s going to meet (Rudd) becomes the target of a massive criminal indictment. Jack Nicholson co-stars.

“Kluge in the Beginning”
Directed by Alexander Kluge
Released by Facets

Facets’ dedication to the pioneering German director continues with this four-disc collection of his earliest work including the features “Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave,” “Artists: Under the Big Top: Perplexed,” “The Big Mess,” and “Willi Tolber and the Decline of the 6th Fleet,” in addition to six of his short films.

“Looking for Palladin” (2009)
Directed by Andrzej Krakowski
Released by Monterey Media

Ben Gazzara stars as an ex-pat movie star enjoying life in Guatemala who needs to be wooed back to Hollywood by a young agent (David Moscow) in this comedy that also features Talia Shire and Vincent Pastore.

“Our Hospitality” (1923)
Directed by Buster Keaton and Jack Blystone
Released by Kino

In addition to already sterling editions of “Steamboat Bill Jr.” and “The General” on Blu-ray, Kino is releasing yet another Buster Keaton classic in high definition with this comedy where he takes a train ride to claim his inheritance and discovers it is nothing like he thought it would be. There’s a score by Carl Davis, a making-of documentary, a 49-minute alternate cut of the film called “Hospitality” and more.

03222011_PeopleIveSleptWith.jpg“The People I’ve Slept With” (2009)
Directed by Quentin Lee
Released by Maya Entertainment

“My So-Called Life” star Wilson Cruz stars in Quentin Lee’s ensemble comedy about a woman (Lynn Chen) whose promiscuity leads to a pregnancy where she doesn’t know who the father is.

“The Perfume of the Lady in Black” (1974)
Directed by Francesco Barilli
Released by RaroVideo

Another rarity brought to you by the folks at RaroVideo, Barilli’s giallo stars Mimsy Farmer as a chemist named Sylvia who is haunted by the titular “Lady in Black” that appears in mirrors, though Sylvia doesn’t know who she is and must recall some particularly painful moments in her past to figure it out.

“The Quiet Arrangement” (2009)
Directed by David C. Snyder
Released by HWIC Filmworks

Chuck D puts in an appearance in this thriller from David C. Snyder about an attorney frustrated by efforts to retrieve his wife from a kidnapping plot who takes action to get revenge.

“Sasha” (2011)
Directed by Dennis Todorovic
Released by Strand Releasing

Dennis Todorovic’s drama centers on a young gay pianist (Sascha Kekez) who hides his sexuality from his father, though his secret may be revealed when his best friend who pretends to be his girlfriend starts an affair with his brother.

“Siren” (2011)
Directed by Andrew Hull
Released by Lionsgate

Andrew Hull’s British thriller starts as many do, with a group of vacationing pals who make the mistake of following a beach babe to their potential demise when they reach a set of islands where they’re not alone.

“Skyline” (2010)
Directed by Greg and Colin Strause
Released by Universal Home Video

Don’t be distracted by the Universal logo or the Strauses’ inauspicious directorial debut on “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem” — their second feature was purely independent, financed and created by their special effects shop Hydraulx, which has worked on films ranging from “2012” to “Avatar.” Inspired by the success of “District 9” and “Paranormal Activity,” the brothers set out on their own to make an alien invasion tale with a small crew and big “crazy shit that when you try to get it through the 20 other producers and studio people, everyone always filters down,” as Colin told audiences at Comic-Con. The result is a film no one knows much about yet, other than it’s a race-against-the-clock thriller for a group of Angelenos who fear being sucked into the sky by ginormous spaceships.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” (1995)
Directed by Glenn Jordan
Released by Image Entertainment

This much-hyped TV adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ drama that featured Alec Baldwin as Stanley Kowalski and Jessica Lange as Blanche DuBois, not to mention John Goodman and Diane Lane in supporting roles, will finally make its debut on DVD after more than 15 years.

03222011_JohnnyDeppTourist.jpg“The Tourist” (2010)
Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Now best known in the U.S. as one of Ricky Gervais’ most wicked punchlines on the Golden Globes, this Angelina Jolie-Johnny Depp throwback to the globetrotting thrillers of the 1960s wherein a chance encounter on a train between the two leads to Depp’s American adventurer unwittingly being caught up in a web of international intrigue. Paul Bettany and Timothy Dalton co-star in the latest from “The Lives of Others” director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

“The Twist” (1976)
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Released by Pathfinder Home Entertainment

Bruce Dern and Ann-Margret appear in this comedy about a poet (Dern) frustrated by both his work and his wife’s sexual fantasies that the French master Chabrol considered to be one of his lesser works, perhaps explaining why it’s taken so long to see an American DVD release. Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Sybil Danning help fill out an all-star cast.

Directed by Dean Gold
Released by Magnolia Home Entertainment

Writer/Director Dean Gold’s low-budget sci-fi flick is set in the future where a salesman (Ben Seton) comes to confront the technological virus he once sold and becomes the charge of a stealthy, ass-kicking agent (Dominika Wolski).

“The Windmill Movie” (2008)
Directed by Alexander Olch
Released by Zeitgeist Films

A New York Film Festival selection in 2008, this documentary is the end product of Alexander Olch’s attempt to finish what his mentor, the late filmmaker Richard P. Rogers, had started by collecting over 200 hours of footage from his life to make his autobiography.

“Women on the Verge: Rembetiko / Another Sky” (1983/1954)
Directed by Gavin Lambert and Costas Ferris
Released by Facets

For this decidedly estrogen-heavy double bill, Facets pairs Ferris’ 1983 Greek drama “Rembetiko” about a blues singer who channels her struggles into her music and Lambert’s 1954 British drama “Another Sky” about a governess who travels to Marrakesh and becomes enchanted with the exoticism of Morocco.

“Yogi Bear” (2010)
Directed by Eric Brevig
Released by Warner Home Video

Sadly, Warner Brothers probably isn’t including that awesome (fake) alternate ending where Boo Boo reluctantly puts an end to his relationship with Yogi in no uncertain terms, but instead you can see Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake yukking it up as the voices of the CG-animated bears who find their beloved Jellystone Park under the threat of closure until a documentarian (Anna Faris) and Park Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh) team up to try to keep the park open.

New to Blu-ray: The Jeff Bridges-Rachel Ward romance “Against All Odds”, the 1997 animated flick “Anastasia”, “Awakenings”, Wayne Wang’s 2005 children’s film “Because of Winn Dixie,” John Huston’s “The Bible”, the Eddie Murphy remake of “Dr. Dolittle,”, “Ernest Goes to Camp/Ernest Goes to Jail”, “Flicka”, “Random Hearts”, the 2005 CG animated “Robots”, “Scary Movie 4”, “Stand by Me”, “The Times of Harvey Milk” (Criterion)

[Additional photos: “Devolved,” Severin Films, 2011; “The People I’ve Slept With,” Maya Entertainment, 2009; “The Tourist,” Sony Pictures, 2010]

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar


IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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