I’ve been writing this feature on MovieFanFare for awhile now, and I can honestly say that during my time doing so there has never been a week packed with as many exciting new releases as this one. Saying that there’s something for everyone may seem like a cliche, but in this case it is absolutely true. From vintage classics from yesteryear to recent blockbusters and plenty of great TV season sets, here’s the latest and greatest of what titles are now available.
The music of Noel Coward and the seventh screen pairing of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald are the ingredients for movie magic. The duo is struggling to make ends meet in 1880s Vienna, but singer MacDonald’s patron (George Sanders) has amorous intentions that lead music teacher Eddy to challenge him to a duel. With Ian Hunter, Felix Bressart. Songs include “I’ll See You Again,” “Kiss Me,” “Love in Any Language,” and more.
Real-life husband/wife duo Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond star in this music-filled melodrama, the third adaptation of the play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin. An orphaned girl (MacDonald) falls in love with a handsome stranger (Raymond), only to find their romance threatened by a tragic connection between Raymond’s father and MacDonald’s late aunt. Brian Aherne co-stars; songs include the title tune, “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes,” “Land of Hope and Glory,” and more.
Musical comedy favorite stars Janet Leigh as a wannabe starlet who travels to New York City in search of fame and fortune. Determined to find success on the small screen, she and a number of other talented performers attempt to make their dreams come true by appearing on a popular TV program. The impressive ensemble cast also includes Tony Martin, Gloria De Haven, Eddie Bracken, Anne Miller, Joe Smith, and Charles Dale; musical numbers directed by Busby Berkeley.
After an unsuccessful stab at being a professional singer, Libby Caruso (Connie Francis) decides it’s time to settle down and get married. She sets her sights on Paul (Jim Hutton), who’s not interested-until Libby rockets to fame when she invents a device that keeps clothes from wrinkling and her singing career finally takes off. Upbeat musical also stars Susan Oliver, Joby Baker, and Johnny Carson as himself (in his only big-screen appearance). Includes the title song, “Let’s Have a Party,” “Be My Love,” and more.
Directed by Busby Berkeley, this romantic musical comedy stars as the owner of the Garden of the Moon nightclub. As he and bandleader John Payne endlessly bicker, they both try to win the heart of beauty Margaret Lindsay. With Johnnie Davis, Melville Cooper, Isabel Jeans; songs include “Love Is Where You Find It,” “The Girlfriend of the Whirling Dervish,” “Confidentially,” and more. 94 min.
This zesty musical comedy stars Connie Francis as a newlywed trying to catch up with her naval officer husband after he was called back to active duty during their honeymoon. She hooks up with three other gals (Paula Prentiss, Dany Robin, Janis Paige) also on their way to meet their seafaring guys, and together the ladies embark on a fun adventure across the French and Italian Riviera. Roger Perry, Russ Tamblyn also star. Songs include the title tune (a Top 20 hit for Francis), “Waiting for Billy,” “Sleepyland,” and more.
This spicy musical comedy is set at the popular (at the time) Mexican resort Agua Caliente, where theater critic Larry MacArthur (Pat O’Brien) goes to escape his gold-digging fiancee. Unbeknownst to Larry, Rita Gomez (Dolores del Rio), a dancer he once trashed in a review, is performing there. Will Rita’s desire for revenge lead to an unexpected spark with Larry? With Leo Carrillo, Edward Everett Horton. Choreography by Busby Berkeley; features the title tune, “Muchacha,” “The Lady in Red,” and more.
Brooklyn native Elly Jordan (Dick Powell) is well on his way to stardom as a singing cowboy under the name Wyoming Steve Gibson. But it could all fall apart when “Wyoming Steve” accepts a challenge to compete in a rodeo-despite the fact that “Elly” is deathly afraid of animals. Pat O’Brien, Priscilla Lane, and Ronald Reagan co-star in this musical comedy. The soundtrack features songs with lyrics penned by Johnny Mercer, including the title tune, “Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride,” “I’ll Dream of You Tonight,” and more.
Marvel Comics’ God of Thunder hammers his way onto the silver screen in director Kenneth Branagh‘s action-packed epic. Banished from the realm of Asgard and exiled to a mortal life on Earth, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) attempts to reclaim his powers-and magical hammer Mjolnir-in an effort to return home and foil the sinister machinations of evil adoptive brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). With Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard,Kat Dennings, Clark Gregg, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin.
Nine-disc set includes “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” “Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” “Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” “Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope,” “Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,” “Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” and three discs packed with bonus features.
Citizen Kane (70th Anniversary Edition)
Director/co-writer/star Orson Welles‘ landmark debut film, a sweeping chronicle of the rise and fall of fictitious newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane and the mystery surrounding his dying word, is recognized as one of the greatest and most innovative movies of all time. The “Mercury Players” cast includes Dorothy Comingore, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, and Ruth Warrick. Three-disc gift set also includes the documentary “The Battle for Citizen Kane,” the bonus feature “RKO 281″ (1999), a book excerpt, photos, reproductions of personal production correspondence from Welles, and more.
After two years away, gunslinger Clint Cooper (Audie Murphy) returns to his hometown to find he’s none too popular with the locals. He soon helps fight off a band of outlaws led by an old buddy, but will it be enough to get back in the good graces of the townsfolk-and the pretty school marm (Merry Anders) he’s always loved? James Best, Ted de Corsia, Walter Sande co-star in this thrilling western.
Lock the doors, here come the neighbors! Earl (John Belushi, in his final role) and Enid (Kathryn Walker) Keese are nice, conservative suburbanites who are about to have their quiet and predictable lives turned upside down thanks to the arrival of Vic (Dan Aykroyd) and Ramona (Cathy Moriarty), the bizarre, obnoxious couple that’s just moved in next door. Lauren-Marie Taylor co-stars in this dark comedy based on the book by Thomas Berger; directed by John Avildsen.
Notorious 1930s gangster Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll is the subject of this gritty biodrama that traces the vicious hoodlum’s rise to the top of the criminal underworld. After making a name for himself as a remorseless killer, Mad Dog faced a war on two fronts-one with the cops, the other with rival mobster Dutch Schultz. John Chandler, Telly Savalas, and an uncredited Gene Hackman all make their feature film debuts; with Jerry Orbach, Vincent Gardenia, Kay Doubleday.
In the second “Gidget” film, everyone’s favorite surfin’ girl is bummed to learn that her parents have planned a family vacation to Hawaii during the two weeks her boyfriend Moondoggie is home from college. Gidget heads to Waikiki where she finds fun and romance (naturally) with a dancer, but what happens when Moondoggie misses his girl and decides to make the trip himself? Deborah Walley, James Darren, Michael Callan, Peggy Cass, and Carl Reiner star.
Offbeat shocker stars Joan Crawford as Monica Rivers, a circus owner whose big top is beset by the sadistic murders of several of her performers. But receipts soar thanks to the grisly deaths which include a tightrope walker falling onto a bed of bayonets, Monica’s partner getting a spike through his head, and a gruesome “accident” while a woman is being sawed in half! Ty Hardin, Diana Dors, Michael Gough, Judy Geeson also star.
Jean Seberg stars in this drama about a young American girl who travels to Paris to study art, but instead becomes a student of life and love. Over the course of four years, she experiences several romantic entanglements and tries her hand at modeling before she realizes she must decide if she wants to remain in France or return to the states with her wealthy father. Stanley Baker, Philippe Forquet, Addison Powell also star.
Originally airing on HBO, this adaptation of Carrie Fisher‘s acclaimed one-woman Broadway show features the actress giving a candid and hilarious overview of her life. Join the erstwhile Princess Leia as she discusses what it was like being the daughter of Hollywood superstars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher and chronicles her battles with drug abuse, alcoholism, and mental illness.
Premiering in 2005, this hit ABC series blends taut medical drama with offbeat comedy as it follows the hectic personal and professional lives of a quintet of young surgical interns at a Seattle hospital. Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Katherine Heigl, Justin Chambers, Kevin McKidd and Patrick Dempsey star. All 22 seventh-season episodes-including “With You I’m Born Again,” “Superfreak,” “That’s Me Trying,” “Disarm,” and “Song Beneath the Song”-are featured in a six-disc set
Transplanting herself from Seattle to Santa Monica seems to be just what the doctor ordered for neonatal surgeon Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) in this engaging medical drama spun off from “Grey’s Anatomy.” Her pulse soon jumps with a cautious attraction to a doctor (Tim Daly) specializing in alternative medicine and a host of challenging new cases. Taye Diggs, Audra McDonald co-star. All 22 episodes from season four-including “Take Two,” “All in the Family,” “Just Lose It,” “Love and Lies,” and “…To Change the Things I Can”-are featured in a five-disc set.
Rescue Me: The Complete Sixth and Final Seasons
Denis Leary executive produces and stars in this raw and darkly comic FX series about a seasoned New York City firefighter troubled by the pressures of the job, the break-up of his marriage, and the loss of countless friends and co-workers who died in the line of duty. James McCaffrey, Andrea Roth, Mike Lombardi, John Scurti also star. All 10 episodes from season six and 9 episodes from season seven-including “Sanctuary,” “Cowboy,” “A.D.D.,” “Jeter,” and the series finale “Ashes”-are featured in a five-disc set.
Smart and witty, this CBS sitcom chronicles the misadventures of Leonard and Sheldon, two brilliant-and socially awkward-college physicists who don’t have a clue about anything except science. When pretty blonde Penny moves into the apartment across the hall, the guys enlist her help to learn about life outside of the lab. Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg star. All 24 episodes from season four-including “The Robotic Experimentation,” “The Boyfriend Complexity,” “The Love Car Displacement,” “The Engagement Reaction,” and “The Roommate Transmogrification”-are featured in a four-disc set.
Fox’s quirky blend of musical, comedy, and drama is set at Ohio’s fictional William McKinley High School, where idealistic Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) takes over control of the school’s glee club. As Will and his misfit singing students try to make the club a success, they constantly clash with the Cheerios, the cheerleading squad led by the vicious coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). Jessalyn Gilsig, Jayma Mays, Lea Michele also star. All 22 episodes from season two-including “Audition,” “The Rocky Horror Glee Show,” “A Very Glee Christmas,” “Born This Way,” and “New York”-are featured in a six-disc set.
Debuting in 2005, FX’s sardonic sitcom focuses on Charlie, Mac, Dennis, and Dee, four friends who struggle to keep their City of Brotherly Love bar in business while trying to battle their biggest obstacles-giant egos and an overwhelming sense of self-involvement. Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, and Danny DeVito star. All 12 episodes from season six-including “Mac Fights Gay Marriage,” “Who Got Dee Pregnant?,” “The Gang Gets a New Member,” “Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats,” and “Dee Gives Birth”-are featured in a two-disc set.
This NBC comedy starred Ben Rappaport as Todd Dempsy, a Kansas City working-class guy who learns that his order-processing job at Mid America Novelties has been transferred to Mumbai, India. Todd travels there to become the call center manager and the lone American who must explain popular Western culture to his employees. Hilarity ensues as cultures clash and Todd wrestles with fitting in. Diedrich Bader, Rebecca Hazlewood, and Anisha Nagarajan co-star. All 22 episodes of the series are featured in this three-disc set.
After losing his job as host of “The Tonight Show” in 2010 and subsequently severing all ties with NBC, embarked on “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour” as a way to jumpstart the next stage of his career. This candid documentary follows the funnyman as he travels across the country and gives insight on his craft and his relentless desire to entertain. With appearances from Jack Black, Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert.
For details and availability of more of this week’s new releases, click here.
Here’s a look at last week’s new releases.