From Marlene Dietrich to a Disney classic making a welcome return to DVD and Blu-ray, this week’s offerings offer plenty of notable viewing options for film fans. Regardless of what kind of movies you enjoy, you’ll find something worthy of your time here. Check out these great new releases!
One of cinema’s great star/director tandems is celebrated in this double feature. First, “Dishonored” (1931) offers Marlene Dietrich as a Viennese streetwalker recruited by a secret agent to spy on Austria during World War I. She discovers evidence on a general selling secrets to the Russians and uncovers a Russian agent posing as an officer in the Austrian army. Victor McLaglen, Warner Oland, and Gustav von Seyffertitz co-star. Then, all aboard the Peking Railroad’s storied “Shanghai Express” (1932), inhabited by a host of fascinating characters: Shanghai Lily (Dietrich), a strong-willed woman with a questionable reputation; Lily’s former lover, a British doctor (Clive Brook); a Chinese prostitute (Anna May Wong); and a devious rebel leader (Oland).
Coming attractions, rare film footage (including Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s first screen appearance together in 1917 and a color documentary short), a vintage “This Is Your Life” episode, and more L&H fun is featured in “Classic Moments With Laurel & Hardy”; while “Laurel & Hardy On Parade” offers short films culled from the duo’s 1935 feature “Bonnie Scotland.” Two-disc set also includes “The Flying Deuces” and “Utopia.”
It’s been six years since they fled Gitmo, and America’s favorite stoner buddies have drifted apart; while Kumar (Kal Penn) still lives for getting baked, Harold (John Cho) has straightened out and is holding down a soul-crushing Wall Street job. When Kumar causes the destruction of the beloved Christmas tree belonging to Harold’s overbearing father-in-law (Danny Trejo), a race to replace it leads to the expected improper Yuletide fun. Paula Garces, Neil Patrick Harris, Thomas Lennon,Patton Oswalt co-star.
When his Marine father is lost in combat, a star high school jock (Kellan Lutz) finds his life going off the rails. Will the discipline instilled at a wilderness lacrosse camp run by his dad’s service buddy (Adam Beach) and the affection of a crushing classmate (Ashley Greene) fill him with a new sense of purpose? Gabrielle Anwar, Chord Overstreet co-star.
While Kate (Christina Ricci) is thrilled to be attending the Renaissance Faire, college jock Will (Owen Benjamin) finds himself forced to work there after getting into hot water with his literature professor (Cedric the Entertainer). The two new participants enjoy the joust of a delightful (if unlikely) romance while competing to win a contest sponsored by the fair’s wealthy sponsor. Matthew Lillard, Louise Griffiths, and Ann-Margret co-star.
Could the regal, intelligent, and sophisticated Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans), actually have written all of the plays attributed to William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall)? This intriguing and exciting historical thriller takes just such an explosively conspiratorial view while dramatizing how it ties in with a rebellion being mounted against Queen Elizabeth I (Vanessa Redgrave) by the Earl of Essex (Sam Neill). With David Thewlis, Joely Richardson.
All nine episodes from the second series of the hugelu successful BBC series (that aired in the United States on PBS) are presented in a three-disc set.
A tragic tale of love and destruction set in 19th-century England, this miniseries adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s famous novel concerns three men who pursue the same woman, with tragic consequences. The woman is the proud Bathsheba Everdene (Paloma Baeza), and her suitors include the shepherd (Nathaniel Parker) who becomes her employee; her neighbor (Nigel Terry); and a womanizing soldier (Jonathan Firth). With Victoria Alcock, Peter Aubrey.
All eight episodes from the debut season–the two-part “The Missing Body Mystery,” “What Do You Call a Call Girl?,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” the two-part “The Mafia Priest Mystery,” “The Face in the Mirror Mystery,” and “The Pretty Baby Mystery”–are featured in a two-disc set.
The Robert Frost poem of the same name serves as the inspiration for this highly emotional drama about a struggling writer (Ryan Reynolds) whose life takes a turn for the tragic after his mother (Julia Roberts) perishes in a car crash. Left to deal with his other family members, the author begins a period of deep introspection about his past and the difficult relationship he has with his father (Willem Dafoe). Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Watson, and Hayden Panettiere co-star.
Internet sensation and perpetual grade-schooler Fred Figglehorn (Lucas Cruikshank) is back for a spooky, silly feature-length adventure, as he tries to convince best friend Bertha (Daniella Monet) to help him prove that their mysterious new music teacher is really a vampire. Seth Morris, Siobhan Fallon, Ariel Winter, and WWE wrestler John Cena, as Fred’s dad, co-star.
Popular Dylan (Sarah Hyland) was royalty at her posh L.A. high school, who’d never give media club nerd Josh (Matt Prokop) the time of day. Until, that is, he rescued her trendy purse from destruction, and in return asked that she star in his documentary about cool kids. Reluctant at first, she comes to learn that he’s not so bad for a dweeb, and that she can count on him when her own status comes crashing down. Sasha Pieterse, Jordan Nichols co-star.
All 33 episodes from season two–including “Queen of Diamonds,” “Ride into Darkness,” “Man from Kansas,” “Two for the Gallows,” and “Widow in White”–are featured in a six-disc set
In a film filled with faith-based messages and dramatic uplift, an alcoholic postal worker (Jeffrey Johnson) finds his turbulent life taking a surprising turn after he discovers a series of letters written “to God” from a young boy (Tanner Maguire) stricken by cancer. Soon forging a connection to the boy’s family, the troubled mailman discovers how faith, humor, and courage can change lives. With Robyn Lively, Michael Bolten.
Journey back in time to explore what led to the disappearance of a cache of Saxon gold during the Dark Ages…and what led to its discovery in 2009 by an amateur using a metal detector! This National Geographic documentary revisits the clashes between pagan and Christian forces for the control of England, and the reasons for the burial of a treasure comprised of over 3,000 pieces.
They’ve been rivals as long as they’ve been friends–which is to say that Brits Colin (Robson Green) and Howard (Mark Benton) have been pals determined to one-up each other for their entire lives! Introduced in the comedic telefilm “Christmas Lights” (2004), the two compete for the foreman’s job at the freight depot where they both work as the holidays approach. Their misadventures continued in the subsequent six-part programs “Northern Lights” (2006) and “City Lights” (2007), plus the witty made-for-TV follow-up “Clash of the Santas” (2008), which pits the men against each other in dueling St. Nick suits.
First, filmmakerLionel Rogosin‘s often agonizing “On the Bowery” (1957) mixes documentary footage with scripted scenes to deliver a chronicle of lost souls struggling in an alcohol-fueled limbo. The film focuses primarily on the hard-drinking Ray, a railway worker whose life on Skid Row is an experience etched in the American consciousness. The nonfiction short “Out” (1957) follows the journey of Hungarian refugees seeking a new home in Austria. Finally, the feature “Good Times, Wonderful Times” (1966) finds shocking real-life war footage juxtaposed with mild cocktail party scenes.
One of early cinema’s finest femme fatales, Pola Negri launched her American film career after first achieving stardom in Europe. This collection of Negri classics begins with the silent romance “The Polish Dancer” (1917), in which Negri plays a performer who entices a married man. Billed as the first feature made in Poland, the drama co-stars Witold Kuncewicz, Jan Pawlowski. Next, Imperial Russia’s virulent attitudes about the Jewish people are exposed by the silent melodrama “The Yellow Ticket” (1918). Three-disc set also includes “Eyes Of The Mummy Ma” and “Sappho” (1921).
All 24 episodes from the series’s second season–including “Pawns of Power,” “Glitter with a Bullet,” “Silence,” “Double Image,” and the two-part “Task Force: Cop Killer”–are featured in a six-disc set.
Could an ape be taught to communicate like a human? Meet Nim, the chimpanzee raised much like a human child as part of an ambitious 1970s scientific experiment to test that groundbreaking hypothesis. This acclaimed, thought-provoking documentary from the makers of “Man on a Wire” chronicles Nim’s fascinating saga and explores the societal boundaries between humans and animals.
Robert Donat was never more dashing than in this lush adaptation of the Dumas swashbuckler. Unjustly convicted on espionage charges during the Napoleonic Wars, Donat’s Edmond Dantes manages to escape his island prison and locates a fabulous treasure that allows him to plot his revenge. Elissa Landi, Louis Calhern, and O.P. Heggie also star.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-setting musical, the stage of London’s venerable Royal Albert Hall was transformed into the Paris Opera House to tell the story of the mysterious madman (Ramin Karimloo) who haunts the building and pines for the beautiful young singer Christine (Sierra Boggess). This lavish production is also highlighted by appearances from past performers from around the globe, including Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman.
After dumping her unfaithful husband, now-single mother-of-two Catherine Zeta-Jones moves with her kids to a Manhattan apartment. The demands of her new job force Zeta-Jones to hire an unlikely “nanny” choice in twentysomething coffee shop clerk Justin Bartha, but even more unlikely is the romance that blossoms between the duo. Charming comedy also stars Sam Robards, Kate Jennings Grant, Art Garfunkel.
Effective BBC TV dramatization of the Christopher Reid poem that follows the fateful luncheon reunion between a London book editor (Alan Rickman) bitter over his failed poetry career and his old flame (Emma Thompson), who left him 15 years prior for a successful novelist.
Adapted by Cormac McCarthy from his stage play, this philosophical made-for-cable drama finds characters named Black (Samuel L. Jackson) and White (Tommy Lee Jones) locked in rhetorical combat in a New York apartment after Black rescues White from a suicide attempt. While Black, an ex-con, tries to make the case for embracing hope and religious faith, despairing teacher White sees little reason to go on living.
Following the wedding of Bella (Kristen Stewart) and vampire Edward (Robert Pattinson), Jacob (Taylor Lautner) leaves his wolf pack when he learns they plan to kill the pregnant Bella and her unborn child. But Bella’s health begins to fail as her fetus grows at an accelerated rate, leading to a dangerous birth and an unexpected transformation for the new mother, and leaving the lycanthropic Jacob as the baby’s protector. Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser co-star in part one of the final installment of Stephenie Meyer’s successful saga.
David Wain–actor, writer, director, and one of the twisted minds behind the comedy troupes the State and Stella–brings you this hilariously offbeat series that originally aired on the Internet from 2007-09. Join David (or at least a somewhat fictionalized version of him) as he makes his way through his bizarre life, interacting with strange characters and working in a sweatshop. Features appearances by Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Jonah Hill, Rob Corddry, Rashida Jones, Michael Ian Black, and more.
Written and directed by David E. Talbert, this captivating urban stage play concerns the imperfections that exist in a loving couple’s seemingly flawless marriage. With her husband devoting most of his time to his career, a neglected wife develops feelings for a man who is doing work on her home. What follows is an exploration of passion, sex, and deception. Ann Nesby,Brian White, Clifton Davis star.
The doggone funniest love story you’ll ever see, this charming Disney animated feature follows the rocky romance between a proper cocker spaniel and a streetwise mutt from opposite sides of the tracks. Features the voice talents of Peggy Lee, Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Stan Freberg, and Alan Reed. Songs include “Bella Notte ,” “He’s a Tramp,” “The Siamese Cat Song.”
For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.
Here’s a look at last week’s DVD and Blu-ray releases.