Three Documentaries Looking At JFK And His Lasting Influence

Thrillers! Comedies! Family favorites! Dramas! No matter what genre you are looking for you can find something worth watching in this week’s assortment of new releases!

The Kennedy Half-Century   (2013)

How did the politics of John F. Kennedy impact the administrations of those who followed the 35th U.S. president? This program based on analyst Larry Sabato’s book examines the far-reaching influence of JFK’s tenure from Johnson to Obama with insights from Sabato, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, James Carville, Ron Reagan, Jr., Julian Bond, and other notable figures, and includes powerful archival materials.

JFK  (2013)  

Was there ever–or will there ever be–another president of the United States quite like John F. Kennedy? This “American Experience” tribute revisits the life and legend of the 35th American head of state, providing fresh insights about his innovative campaign for the presidency, his controversial tenure in office, his struggles with illness, and his private relationships with other members of the Kennedy family.

JFK: One PM Central Standard   (2013)

Named for the time President John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead at the Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, this documentary exploration of his assassination offers a detailed study of the way in which the CBS television network treated news of the tragedy on the air. With the help of memories shared by profound emotions that roiled the nation on November 22, 1963. Narrated by George Clooney; includes appearances by Bill Clinton, Dan Rather.

100 Degrees Below Zero   (2013)

In this nature-run-amok thriller, a couple (Jeff Fahey, Judit Fekete) traveling to visit their children in Paris finds their reunion delayed by freakish weather events that lead to volcanic eruptions spewing clouds of ash that block the sun’s rays from reaching Earth! As the bizarre happenings threaten the planet with a new ice age, the terrified pair attempts to reach their loved ones while the race is on to prevent global catastrophe. With John Rhys-Davies, Sara Malakul Lane.

All Is Bright   (2013) 

Out of the jug after a four-year stretch, Quebec loser Dennis (Paul Giamatti) comes home to find his wife involved with ex-partner Rene (Paul Rudd), who let him take the robbery rap.  Rene promises to make it up by cutting him in on a fast-money job…peddling a truckload of Christmas trees in Brooklyn.  They’ll both get presented with some insights in this charmer co-starring Sally Hawkins, Amy Landecker; Phil Morrison (“Junebug”) directs. AKA: “Almost Christmas.”

Arthur C. Clarke Collection 

Already a giant in the world of science-fiction writing, “2001: A Space Odyssey” author Arthur C. Clarke made the jump from the page to the TV screen, appearing in bracketing segments of these three British-made series exploring bizarre mysteries of our world and beyond. This eight-disc collection includes all 13 episodes of “Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World” (1980), which investigates Bigfoot, UFOs, ball lightning, and more; all 13 episodes of “Arthur C. Clarke’s World Of Strange Powers” (1985), which explores stigmata, messages from the future, and reincarnation, among other controversial topics; and 26 episodes from the program “Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious Universe” (1994), which delves into pyramids, missing links, near-death experiences, and much more.
Breaking The Girls   (2013)

After a calculating classmate places her law school career in jeopardy, bartender Sara (Agnes Bruckner) gets a sympathetic ear–and eventually, a lot more–from sultry patron Alex (Madeline Zima). It isn’t long, though, till Alex makes an indecent proposal: She’ll kill the scholastic rival if Sara does in Alex’s meddlesome mother-in-law. The twists only mount from there in this steamy suspenser. Shawn Ashmore, Kate Levering, Shanna Collins co-star.

Bridegroom    (2012)

After losing his committed partner, Tom Bridegroom, to a tragic accident, actor and activist Shane Bitney Crone found his anguish multiplied when Tom’s family barred him from the funeral. On the anniversary of Bridegroom’s death, Shane posted an impassioned plea for the recognition of same-sex couples’ rights on YouTube, and the viral response helped fuel a movement, as shown in this affecting and remarkable documentary.

Cagney & Lacey: The Complete Series: 30th Anniversary    

Sensitive Det. Sgt. Christine Cagney (Meg Foster, replaced by Sharon Gless in season two) and tough Det. Mary Beth Lacey (Tyne Daly) were female New York City cops whose opposing personalities made for a formidable partnership in this groundbreaking crime drama that ran on CBS from 1981-88. Al Waxman, John Karlen, Martin Kove, and Carl Lumbly also starred. Also includes the 1981 pilot starring Daly and Loretta Swit and the four reunion movies.

Christmas Angel   (2011)

Brenda Blethyn and Timothy Spall top the cast of this British-made holiday drama, in which a young boy and his brother are faced with a frightening crisis after their mother is terribly wounded in a car accident. With the Christmas holiday approaching fast, one of the children seeks the intervention of a divine being to rescue his mother. Joseph Phillips, Mel Smith, and Celia Imrie co-star.  AKA: “My Angel.”

Night Of The Comet (Collector’s Edition)   (1984)

What if the only people left alive in the world were Southern California teenagers? That’s the start in this campy, enjoyable sci-fi tale of two sisters who must fend off zombie-like mutants and mysterious scientists after a comet’s passing exterminates nearly all life. Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran, and Mary Woronov star.

Planes    (2013)

Deep within his fuselage, humble single-prop crop duster Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook) knew that he had what it took for the world of competitive air racing…despite a fear of heights. Will the mentoring of a crusty Navy Corsair (Stacy Keach) give him the edge to fulfill his dreams? The sky’s the limit in this engaging bit of CGI-animated air fare from Disney. With the voices of Cedric the Entertainer, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and John Cleese.

The Invisible Man: The Complete Series   (1975)

David McCallum starred as the “now you see him, now you don’t” scientist who used his invisibility to work as a globe-hopping agent for an international trouble-shooting corporation, which in return tried to help McCallum reverse his condition, in this 1975-76 NBC sci-fi/drama series. With Craig Stevens, Melinda Fee.

The Last Tycoon  (1976)

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished roman a clef of Old Hollywood served as the basis for this intriguing drama, as an Irving Thalberg-esque studio honcho (Robert De Niro) must juggle the pressures of his business responsibilities, crumbling marriage, and declining health. For his final credit, Elia Kazan directs a stellar ensemble including Robert Mitchum, Tony Curtis, Jeanne Moreau, and Jack Nicholson; screenplay by Harold Pinter.

The Little Mermaid II: Return To The Sea (2000)/The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning (2008)    

The aquatic adventures continue in these animated features. First, in “The Little Mermaid II: Return To The Sea,” young Princess Melody, daughter of Ariel and Eric, will need the help of friends old (Sebastian and Scuttle) and new (Dash and Tip) to overcome the evil schemes of sea witch Ursula’s sister, Morgana. Features the voices of Jody Benson, Samuel E. Wright, Tara Strong, and Buddy Hackett. And, venture “under the sea” once more, in “The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning,” a song-filled prequel to the 1989 Disney classic which finds young Ariel facing an impossible choice when music is outlawed in Atlantica. Can she suppress her love of song forever, or will she restore harmony to the kingdom and risk her father’s wrath? With voices by Benson, Wright, and Sally Field.

The To Do List    BLU-RAY  (2013)

It’s 1993, and brainy, socially awkward recent high-school grad Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) is feeling the pressures of still being a virgin. Determined to gain some experience before she starts college, Brandy comes up with a list of sexual acts she plans to perform over the summer. As she begins crossing things off her list, she embarks on a hilarious and life-changing coming-of-age adventure.  Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, Rachel Bilson co-star in this raunchy teen comedy.

For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.

  • Gord Jackson

    A little boo boo maybe? I believe THE LAST TYCOON was Robert DeNiro, not Robert Mitchum.

    • BernardS

      No boo boo ! Both Robert de Niro and Robert Mitchum were in “The Last Tycoon”.
      Get your VHS or Laserdisc of “The Last Tycoon” and you will see their names.

      • Gord Jackson

        You’re right! Missed it. Something about ‘creeping decrepitation’, which of course is not be confused with ‘galloping decrepitation’, lol.

  • Wayne P.

    The “Murder of JFK” is an excellent video documentary from the late 90′s that was put out by MPI and it may also be available here at MU. It contains what may be the only complete, uncut version of the 26.6 second Zapruder film that is shown in slow motion…pretty gruesome but its history!