THIS WEEK’S TWIN PEEKS
BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA
1973; $19.98-29.98; R
Oh, happy day! A very welcome two-disc Blu-Ray special edition of a 70’s high-water mark in exploitation cinema, which we first saw in a steamy double-bill with “Night of the Cobra Women” at the long-gone Preston Drive-In back in the day. Bodacious Pam “The Black Beauty” Greer and legendary tall, willowy Nordic blonde goddess Margaret Markov play a rabble-rousing radical and a prized harem-girl who wind up chained together in a cruel Philippine torture-prison. Oh, yeah: and they really, really hate each other. Their only hope of escape lies across a merciless wilderness, still chained together and with, uh, a limited wardrobe budget. A time capsule of rude, fleshy revenge, the likes of which we may never see again. Enjoy.
COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS
2015; $17.98; R
The SyFy Channel has foisted some truly cringe worthy cinema in recent years — not that we’re complaining, mind you; we love crappy movies — but few stirred up the little kid in us like this unredeemable pile of sub-Hollywood hokum. Near a dusty Western mining town an explosion triggers the release of living dinosaurs(!) who first nosh on miner-morsels before lounging at the local lake, noshing on teenies in bikinis. Oh! Who can save these tasty townsfolk from certain CGI death!? Why, a passel of cowboy gunslingers, of course! Despite giving top billing to Eric (ugh) Roberts, this may be the best bad movie we’ve seen in a coon’s age. Total crap and proud of it.
OTHER DVDs OF INTEREST
2015; $22.98; PG-13
We can’t stand Will Ferrell, so we enjoyed this look at stepdad angst since he gets his ass kicked repeatedly in the most outrageous collection of groan-inducing physical comedy we’ve seen in a decade. He’s the super touchy-feely new hubby of Linda Cardellini (“Gravity Falls”) whose ex — a perfectly cast Mark Wahlberg — shows up on his motorcycle, sending Ferrell into an escalating spiral of one-upmanship to win the love of his new stepkids (one if which, played by little Scarlett Estevez from TV’s “Lucifier”, steals every scene). Not exactly deep or philosophical, but 96 solid minutes of pain. Go baby, go.
1998; $19.98; R
It’s “A Clockwork Orange” meets “90210” in this 90’s high school sci-fi thriller about kids chemically changed to chill, yet progressively prone to go postal. A neat idea starring then-teen flames James Marsden (“X-Men”’s Scott Summers/Cyclops), blistering Katie “pre-Ms.-Tom-Cruise” Holmes, dazzling in the back of a pick-em-up truck, and Nick “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” Stahl. And that’s William Sadler — President Ellis on “Agents of SHIELD” as the sweaty, brain-damaged hero. Finally available on Blu-Ray; wildly entertaining; a must-own.
FREAKS AND GEEKS: THE COMPLETE SERIES
1999; $79.98-118.98; UR
Despite lasting only one season, this may be the most important teen comedy/drama in American TV history, if only for its pedigree. Created, produced and occasionally directed by Judd Apatow (his followup to “The Larry Sanders Show”), it provided breakout roles for James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Linda Cardellini of “Mad Men”, John Francis Daley of “Bones”, Busy “Dawson’s Creek” Philipps, and Lizzy “Masters Of Sex” Caplan! Oh, and watch for Trace “Dr. Clayton Forester” Beaulieu of MST3K, plus one-shot appearances by Leslie Mann, David Krumholtz, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Shia LaBeouf, Bianca Kajlich and many others. Now available on Blu-Ray with all the (school) bells and whistles.
MAUDE: SEASON FOUR
1975; $19.98; UR
This was our all-time favorite season of “Maude”: She (Bea Arthur) decided at the end of season three to run for the New York Senate, but in the first episode of this season, hubby Walter (Bill Macy) feels neglected and moves out — to a swinging singles apartment building. At first Maude feels sorry and repentant, but once she sees how happy and carefree her hubby is in his new bachelor pad, she becomes … jealous! Absolutely hilarious. Of course, this being a flagship Socially Conscious show, all this happiness sets the alcoholic Walter drinking again, meaning that Maude must step in and save him from himself. Norman Lear never made better.
MIDWINTER OF THE SPIRIT
2015; $22.98; UR
We had never heard of this British series and were completely unprepared with how damned entertaining it could be. Lovely, sad-faced Anna Maxwell Martin plays the ponytailed country vicar, one of only a handful of women exorcists in the world, who is contacted by the police when they are confronted with a murder that defies conventional logic. She quickly realizes that her latest case is the first salvo in a war on the church, itself. Kind of dour and drear at times, but we found that just made if all the more sinister. Good stuff.
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ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE
2014; $13.98-19.98; UR
We toss about the term “unredeemable” rather loosely here, but this flick is the very definition of the word: an over-the-top grindhouse wannabe wallowing in crazed, demonic bikers, a damsel in distress (Sarah Kobel Marquette), and a less-than-super hero (Nick Forrest). Oh, yeah: And God. He shows up after the girl is kidnapped to resurrect her beloved and send him on a mission to send Satan’s Sinners M.C. to Hell. Actually, he has to do this repeatedly because the boyfriend keeps getting his brains stomped out. It’s damned funny, exploitive, inventive and too good (on a budget) to miss. Enjoy.
2000; $19.98-26.98; R
This starring vehicle for Brittany Murphy was something of a millennial guilty pleasure. The gorgeous 23 year old (who, sadly, died in 2009) plays one of the virginal highschoolers of the titular town, beset by a madman who is murdering all the “good girls.” So they do what every forthright generation of chaste and virtuous young women has done throughout history: organize a massive, town-wide sex party to hump their way off the killer’s radar! Surprisingly nudity-free, even during Murphy’s, er, “climactic” scene, but nonetheless entertaining. (Available 3/29/2016.)
2015; $19.98-45.98; PG-13
This film is simply brilliant, and definitely the best work that Will Smith has ever done, but it was completely ignored in this year’s all-white Oscars. He plays the real-life doctor who uncovered the devastating – and common – long-term effects of football head-trauma, leading to generations of brain-damaged kids growing into brain-damaged adults thanks to idiot parenting and corporate greed. An amazing story, beautifully told; should be required viewing for all parents and sportsfans. (Available 3/29/2016.)
CPO SHARKEY: THE BEST OF SEASON 2
1977; $12.98; UR
Don Rickles never received the respect he deserved from TV audiences for this Phil-Silvers- inspired sitcom set on a Naval base, but it’s a solid, funny show, very much of its time, with Rickles doing the best character he ever got to play. But The Raw One is still with us! Now 89, he picked these six episodes as the best of the bunch, including “The Used-Car Caper” which showcases both his angry, blowhard character at his conniving best, and the lengths he’s willing to go to protect his men and get a laugh. Nice. (Available 3/29/2016.)
DEATH VALLEY DAYS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
1952; $17.97; UR
It’s amazing to us how few people today remember this historic and groundbreaking TV series that ran for 18 26-episode seasons beginning in 1952, launching the careers of literally hundreds of stars including Ronald Reagan, Dale Robertson, Denver “Dukes Of Hazzard” Pyle, Mayberry’s Hal “Otis” Smith, Tom Skerritt, Mariette Hartley, the great Strother Martin, Aneta “The Blob” Corsaut, and DeForest “Star Trek” Kelley, just to name a very few. This first season established the hook: veteran oater Stanley Andrew, as the nameless “Old Ranger”, would introduce the viewer to the beautiful desolation of Death Valley and the night’s central character, then let the story unfold at its own pace – after a 20-Mule Team Borax commercial, of course. Very, very welcome. (Available 3/29/16.)
FEAR THE WALKING DEAD: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON SPECIAL EDITION
2015; $59.98; UR
This AMC spinoff of “The Walking Dead”, wisely set at the very cusp of the “walker” Apocalypse, is a welcome return to the fear and tension that has been lost in TWD of late. The nature of the zombies is still largely unknown, and their full effect on the world not yet revealed, which lets the characters’ imaginations run wild and focuses the plot in ways more relatable to the viewer. And what a cast! Our favorite is Alycia Debnam-Carey, previously of “The 100”, part of the central – and wildly dysfunctional – Clark family. Surprisingly funny; and yes: some of the plot elements are just plain silly, but all in all a nice addition to the canon. This Special Edition includes new audio commentaries, the series pilot, deleted scenes and more.
Long-brooding real-life father and son Donald and Kiefer Sutherland star as estranged father and son in the Old West. Kiefer is an angry, lonely gunslinger called on to protect his dad’s town from swindlers who intend to rip it down and put up a Chucky Cheese. Or something like that. It’s nice to see the two of them on the screen together. With Demi Moore. (Available 3/29/16.)
HUMANS: SEASON 1
2015; $24.98; UR
Brits do continuing sci-fi dramas better than anyone (see “Orphan Black”, et.al.). Here they take on the “family robot servants become more human than their owners” genre, and do it up right. Gorgeous, clear-eyed Gemma “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” Chan plays a “synth” who raises the kids, cleans the house, and has sex with the dad – against her “will” some might say – but that’s just one of the many situations that this series explores in an escalating and wildly addictive world based on the much raunchier Swedish original, “Real Humans.” Recommended. (Available 3/29/16.)
MONTHLY GIRLS’ NOZAKI-KUN: COMPLETE COLLECTION
2014; $49.99; UR
Big-eyed, pigtailed little high-schooler Chiyo has a crush on tall, handsome Umetarou, the boy of her dreams – even if he doesn’t know she’s alive. But after a humiliating first meeting she learns that he’s not just a pretty face, but a famous manga artist called “Sakiko!” So she maneuvers her way into his life to become his drawing assistant in this nicely cracked and surprisingly sensitive slice-of-life anime that wallows in it’s many self-referential – and reverential – notions. Wonderfully broad humor, some of the best characters we’ve ever seen, and a surprisingly absorbing storyline. Different and worth a look. (Available 3/29/16.)
MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE / THE DUNWICH HORROR
2016; $19.98; R
The first is the 1971 British retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s Grand Guignol murder classic starring Jason Robards, Herbert Lom, diminutive Michael Dunn, beautiful Christine Kaufmann as “Madeleine”, and early Bond villain Adolfo Celi as the Inspector. A bit of mess as only AIP could do successfully, and it makes a fun Blu-Ray double bill with the more infamous Dean Stockwell-lead “Dunwich.” Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, virginal Sandra Dee – a decade removed from “Gidget” and trying for a more adult career by briefly exposing her breasts – is chosen by crazed Wilbur Whateley (Stockwell) to be his doorway for the immortal Old Ones to return and shatter our reality. This requires sex with her on a rock while lightening crashes. Go Dean, go! (Available 3/29/16.)
MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOL. XXXV
2016; $42.98; UR
The immortal MST video saga continues with four more never-before-released episodes from the Greatest Damned TV Show Ever Made – and three of them are from Roger Corman! The four include 1958’s “Teenage Cave Man” starring a pre-“Man From UNCLE” Robert Vaughn, “Deathstalker III: Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell” (1988), “Time Walker” (1982, aka, “Being From Another Planet”), and 1960’s “12 to the Moon” featuring a cameo by silent-film star Francis X. Bushman. We’ve always had a soft spot for “Cave Man”: The ending is original as hell, despite being a bit slow in spots. Watch for Hollywood DJ Beach Dickerson playing the bongos, and Frank DeKova – Chief Wild Eagle from “F Troup” – as the bad guy. (Available 3/29/16.)
PERRY MASON MOVIE COLLECTION 5
2016; $42.98-55.98; UR
The original “Perry Mason”, legendary for always climaxing in a thrilling courtroom reveal each week from 1957 to 1966, was resurrected in the 80’s as a string of wildly popular made-for-TV movies. Both starred Raymond “Godzilla” Burr as the titular legal genius, and Barbara Hale (wife of Alan “The Skipper” Hale) as his secretary, Della Street. This collection contains the final six movies in the series, including “The Case of the Killer Kiss”, Burr’s last-ever theatrical appearance, made shortly before his death in 1993.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
2015; $24.98; R
Immortal movie-musicman Ennio Morricone won the only Oscar of his long and distinguished career for this violent, ugly, over-the-top Quentin Tarantino set piece. While lots of people loved seeing Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh (who picked up her own Oscar), Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, et.al., verbally abuse and wail on each other for over 3 blood-soaked hours, it was the music that made it special. A remarkable technical achievement in every sense, with unearthly-beautiful cinematography and some of Q’s best writing, if simply too damned long for us to enjoy. But what the hell do we know? (Available 3/29/2016.)
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2
2015; $19.98-39.98; PG-13
The final climatic battle sees local lass Jennifer Laurence … Actually, we’ve decided not to spoil it: There are a surprising number of people out there who skipped the climatic two-parter at the theaters in favor of watching both parts together on home video. We can relate. Needless to say, Laurence does us proud and the series wraps up with a ending that’s darkly “happy” without taking anything away from all the death and suffering along the way. We love you Jen.
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