THIS WEEK’s TWIN PEEKS
MAUDE: SEASON ONE
1973; $17.99-24.97; UR
Big Bea Arthur continues her drive as the progressive, liberal anti-Archie Bunker in this “All In the Family” spinoff with Bill Macy as her proud — and sometimes frightened — fourth hubby. The highlight of this set is the season-opening two-parter where Bill gets drunk and gives Maude a black eye! This starts a strong, comic, first of its kind conversation on the roots of domestic violence, resulting in a campaign to remove alcohol from their lives, and the way that friends and family react to this news. Macy, by the way, most recently did a U.S. TV cameo as Whiskey Pete in 2007’s “My Name Is Earl.”
THE KNICK: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
2014; $29.94-39.99; UR
This Cinemax doctor-drama set in New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital at the opening of the 20th century is a much bigger hit in Europe than America. Why? Because U.S. audiences aren’t used to seeing fare this dark, intimate and exceptional on their TVs. Clive Owen leads a strong cast as the drug-addicted head doctor with the impossible task of treating rampant diseases without antibiotics, performing surgery without anesthetic and treating non-Caucasians before the word was even coined. Some of the more familiar faces include Grainger “Hell On Wheels” Hines, Katrina E. “Birdman” Perkins and André “Selma” Holland. Truly outstanding.
OTHER DVDs OF INTEREST
2014; $24.99; UR
This drama with the misleading sci-fi/horror title is actually a very personal look at modern Britains, particularly those who have been marginalized by the accepted joys of capitalism and consumerism over the supposedly lesser values of family and home. Barry Ward plays a lost alcoholic adult, adrift since his childhood farm was destroyed by cholera years earlier. Now the birth of his brother’s child sparks an interest to return home — or whatever might have risen from there — passing through the lives of old lovers along the way.
CAPTAIN EARTH: COLLECTION TWO
2014; $34.98-59.98; UR
This may seem to be just another Mecha — a tale of young people protecting the Earth in giant robot-suits — a genre that some feel has run its course. But the Mecha of today has matured to embrace not only adult emotions and desires, but the new terrors of bio-engineering, classic fringe topics such as Orgone Energy, and Western society’s demand that childhood be a time of preparation, not play. This series balances all those themes and more, while somehow projecting great joy and hope for the future, all told with excellent animation, believable characters and a smattering of comedy. What more could you want?
HAIKYU!!: COLLECTION TWO
2014; $34.98-59.98; UR
We’ve mentioned this weirdly-popular volleyball-obsessed anime series before, and this second release (completing the first season) continues its odd journey. One might say that it captures the trials of young-adulthood through the teamwork and spirit of organized sports, but one would be missing the point: Adult life is really not as complicated, nor people as false, as they appear on the surface; the trick is to focus on who you are and who you want to be. Here, volleyball serves as a somewhat level playing field; the real drama is what the players bring onto the court with them. Or maybe we’re just full of pseudo-sociological bullcrap. Either way, this thing is damned entertaining.
NORTHMEN — A VIKING SAGA
2014; $12.98-26.98; UR
The latest in a recent string of German-made semi-historical Viking tales, this time following a band of rogues aiming to raid Britain, only to end up shipwrecked in Alba (Scotland). By pure dumb luck they capture the King’s daughter, whom they hope to exchange for a means of escape, only to find themselves in the crosshairs of the King’s merciless, mercenaries. Their last hope may be a sword-wielding Christian monk. Complete balderdash, to be sure, but damned entertaining.
POLICE STORY: LOCKDOWN
2013; $14.98-29.98; UR
Jackie Chan (do we really need to go on?) returns to the franchise he created in 1985, this time as a tragic police captain who was never around while his daughter was growing up. She’s now an adult, and engaged to be married to a nightclub owner — whom Chan knows to be a vicious mobster! With Ye Liu from “The Chef, The Actor, The Scoundrel” as the fiancé, and ethereal Tian Jing, star of Chinese TV’s “An Epic of a Woman,” as the daughter. How can you pass on Jackie Chan?
THE JEFFERSONS: SEASON EIGHT
1981; $17.96; UR
The eighth of 11 seasons in the sitcom lives of George and Louise Jeffersons, the black, one-time next door neighbors of bigotted Archie Bunker in “All In The Family.” Much of this season is spent exploring possible spin-offs, with multi-episode arcs for both maid Florence (Marla Gibbs), who goes to work at a posh hotel — until it burns down! — and the young-married couple, Lionel and Jenny (Mike Evans — replacing Damon Evans — and Berlinda Tolbert). They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore.
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SHE LOVES ME NOT
2013; $24.98; UR
This fun little “man seeks woman” rom-com is a pleasant evening’s diversion, largely due to a great cast lead by Cary Elwes (most recently of “Psych”), Joey Lauren “Chasing Amy” Adams and Lisa Edelstein, who since “House M.D.” has been doing a lot of cartoon voice-overs and guest shots on “Castle” and “The Good Wife” when not starring in “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.” Other notable players include former dance-movie hottie Briana Evigan, the great Karen Black, underused Caitlin Keats from “Kiss Of The Damned”, and redheaded steamer Ana Lucasey who played Casey on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”
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