“Taxi Driver” is Indeed Talkin’ to You and More New DVDs

“Taxi Driver” is Indeed Talkin’ to You and More New DVDs (photo)

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A look at what’s new on DVD and Blu-ray today:

“Taxi Driver” (1976)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

One can read about the extensive restoration of what many consider to be Martin Scorsese’s finest film at The Digital Bits, but if you’re a film fan, you might not need convincing to pick up the latest edition of the film about the disillusioned cabbie, which includes all the special features from the previous DVDs of the film (a feature-length making of doc, a score of shorter featurettes) while adding the commentary track between Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader that originally appeared on the 1986 Criterion laser disc. All in all, it’s the definitive edition that the film deserves.

“Casino Jack” (2010)
Directed by George Hickenlooper
Released by Fox Home Entertainment

Even at the height of his powers, disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff might not have been able to maneuver his way through all the pre-release craziness that plagued Hickenlooper’s dramedy about Abramoff’s rise and fall as a political power player, beginning with the “Factory Girl” director’s tussle over the film’s title with documentarian Alex Gibney and then ultimately the director’s untimely death before it made it into theaters. However, Hickenlooper’s final film sees Kevin Spacey in his element, wheeling and dealing with partner-in-crime Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper) to swindle from Indian gaming interests to win favor with politicians like Tom DeLay (Spencer Garrett). (Matt Singer’s review is here.)

“The Heroes of Telemark” (1965)
Directed by Anthony Mann
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

It’s been a long wait for this Anthony Mann World War II drama, but for fans of the Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris, it should be well worth it as the two stars go head-to-head leading the Norwegian resistance to destroy a water plant the Nazis have commandeered to aid their efforts to create a nuclear bomb.

“Little Fockers” (2010)
Directed by Paul Weitz
Released by Universal Home Video

If you were to go by the advertising for the third installment of the Robert DeNiro-Ben Stiller family comedy, you’d believe the central plot would involve a staring contest, but alas, it concerns Greg Focker (Stiller) once again proving his worth to his father-in-law when he starts selling pharmaceutical drugs to compliment his salary as a male nurse to support his growing family and a series of complications result from when Jack (DeNiro) doesn’t believe him. Barbara Streisand, Owen Wilson, Teri Polo, Blythe Danner and Dustin Hoffman are all back, in addition to newcomers Laura Dern, Harvey Keitel and Jessica Alba.

“I Love You Phillip Morris” (2009)
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Released by Lionsgate

As Jim Carrey told Matt Singer at Sundance ’08, the directorial debut of “Bad Santa” scribes Ficarra and Requa is just about “a guy who needs love and goes to any lengths to get it.” For a script he rated as high as “The Truman Show” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” Carrey went to great lengths to get the role of Steven Jay Russell, a police officer-turned-con artist who leaves his wife (Leslie Mann) in Texas to live an openly gay lifestyle in Miami, only to find his true love (Ewan McGregor) in prison when one of his schemes goes awry.

“The Mountain” (1956)
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Released by Olive Films

Spencer Tracy stars with Robert Wagner in this drama about brothers who must scale a treacherous peak to reach the survivors of a plane crash, but although Tracy’s motivations are purely altruistic, Wagner is after the monetary remains of the dead.

“The Night of the Generals” (1967)
Directed by Anatole Litvak
Released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

A Sam Spiegel production, his “Lawrence of Arabia” stars Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif lead the cast of this World War II-set thriller about three German generals (O’Toole, Donald Pleasence and Charles Gray) who are the suspects in an investigation into the death of a Warsaw prostitute.

“The Taqwacores” (2010)
Directed by Eyad Zahra
Released by Strand Releasing

Michael Muhammad Knight’s novel about the Islamic punk rock scene serves as the basis for Zahra’s feature debut about a Pakistani college student (Dominic Rains) who falls in with a group of Koran-reading punk rockers in Buffalo.

“Tron”/”Tron: Legacy” (1982/2010)
Directed by Steven Lisberger/Joseph Kosinski
Released by Disney Home Entertainment

Ah, remember those terrible days of December 2010 shortly before “Tron: Legacy” opened when the DVD of the 1982 original was going for more than $100 on the open market since it had been long out of print? Well, of course, only four months later, it is being released once more separately or in a five-disc package with its sequel, which tell the story of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) in the original and his son (Garrett Hedlund), both hackers who are drawn into the computer world and have to win a series of games to escape. Besides seeing those pretty lightcycles once more, the main attraction on the “Legacy” disc is the inclusion of a short epilogue called “The Next Day,” featuring original “Tron” star David Warner that acts as a bridge to a follow-up film, should there ever be one. (Evan Narcisse’s review of “Tron: Legacy” is here.)

New to Blu-ray: “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence”, “Benny & Joon”, “Jawbreaker”, “Lars and the Real Girl”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Mystic Pizza”, “The People Vs. Larry Flynt”, “Peter Pan”

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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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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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