Weekly Release Rundown (7-24-12)
Coming off the week of Comic Con is a Trekkie delight with Star Trek’s 90′s reboot, ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season 1′. This hugely popular Sci-Fi series lasted four times longer than the 60′s original starring William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy. Perhaps Paramount’s considering yet another reboot of this worldwide popular franchise created by Gene Roddenberry.
This futuristic action adventure series stars Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton and Jonathan Frakes. Continuing where the original left off, TNG expands into the universe’s final frontier featuring the Starship Enterprise with Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Commander William T. Riker, Star Trek: First Contact, Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, Counselor Deanna Troi, Lt. Commander Data, Lieutenant Worf, Dr. Beverly Crusher, and Wesley Crusher. All twenty-two episodes are included in the box set.
Extras include a three-part documentary: Inception, Launch, The Continuing Mission, Memorable Missions, Star Trek: The Next Generation Archives: The Launch, Archival Mission Logs, Selected Crew Analysis, as well as over twenty-two episodic promos, 1987 introduction to the series, Season One promo, gag reel, Energized! Taking The Next Generation to the Next Level, Stardate Revisited: The Origin of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and featurettes, The Beginning and The Making of a Legend.
Eagle Rock Home Entertainment will be releasing ‘Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live’ to the sounds of rejoice among their worldwide legion of fans. This documentary of Gabriel’s 1993 concerts in Modena, Italy won a Grammy. Just shy of the concert’s twentieth anniversary, Warner Brothers is releasing it in it’s entirety, uncut and unedited. The band is at their best in terms of voice and popularity. A must for any music fan, ‘Peter Gabriel: Secret World Live’ will undoubtedly please fans for generations to come.
Filmed in Modena, Italy across two nights in November 1993 as part of Peter Gabriel’s acclaimed Secret World Live tour in support of the Us album, the show is elaborately presented and choreographed with two stages joined by a narrow pier.
Bonus Features include Red Rain cut from the original film, this is now included for the first time, Time-lapse film of the complex stage set up, The making of Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Live film including interviews and behind the scenes footage, Newly restored HD photo montage slideshow to the remixed Quiet version of Steam, and The Rhythm Of The Heat orchestral version from the New Blood: Live In London show. Line-up: Peter Gabriel (vocals, keyboards); Manu Katche (drums); Tony Levin (bass, vocals); David Rhodes (guitar, vocals); Jean Claude Naimro (keyboards, vocals); Paula Cole (vocals); Shankar (violin, vocals); Levon Minassian (doudouk) with guests Papa Wemba and Molokai. Track Listing: 1) Come Talk To Me 2) Steam 3) Across The River 4) Slow Marimbas 5) Shaking The Tree 6) Blood Of Eden 7) San Jacinto 8) Kiss That Frog 9) Washing Of The Water 10) Solsbury Hill 11) Digging In The Dirt 12) sledgehammer 13) Secret World 14) Don t Give Up 15) In Your Eyes.
Kelsey Grammar finally found a role worthy of his talents after portraying Dr. Frasier Crane through almost two decades in sitcom classics ‘Cheers’ and ‘Frasier’. Taking a turn for the dramatic, Grammar wowed both critics and fans as his portrayal of fictitious nefarious Mayor of Chicago in Starz hit drama ‘Boss’. In anticipation of the sophomore season, Fox is wisely releasing the entire first season in a box set in the hopes of finding new fans and satiating old ones.
Grammar plays Mayor Tom Kane, the unofficial King of Chicago where he rules his domain with an iron fist. Deception, scandal and betrayal are on Mayor Kane’s daily “things to do” list as he underhandedly works his way into the sticky world of politics. As long as he gets the job done, the people of Chicago are none the wiser. Despite being the most effective mayor in recent history, Kane is hiding a dark secret. A degenerative brain disorder is ripping everything away from him and he can’t trust his memory, his closest allies or even himself. A fascinating character drama, ‘Boss’ is not to be missed and worthy a look especially over a summer of reruns and reality television.
Extras include Audio Commentaries as well as the featurette, ‘The Mayor and His Maker’.
Horror fans are in for a treat with Universal’s sleeper thriller ‘Silent House’. Starring Adam Trese, Elizabeth Olsen and Eric Sheffer Stevens, this original story of sheer terror directed by filmmaking Chris Kentis and Laura Lau (Open Water) will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. At a brisk 86 minutes, the filmmakers waste no time to kick things into gear in the gripping tale of panic and terror.
Presented in real time in one shocking, uninterrupted shot (like Hitchcock’s classic ‘The Rope’), the film concerns the plight a young woman named Sarah, who finds herself sealed inside her family’s secluded lake house with no contact to the outside world. It isn’t long before panic sets in as things quickly turn spooky an ominous. Based upon the Uruguayan version, this ‘Silent House’ holds up quite well by comparison. With some terrific acting and inventive camera work, this little gem of a film deserves to find a wider audience–and will undoubtedly once this hit video dockets and good word of mouth begins to spread.
Extras include some audio commentary as well as a plethora of upcoming videos.
Footnote Sony / 2011 / 107 Minutes / Rated PG-13
Shlomo Bar-Aba, Lior Ashkenazi, Aliza Rosen, Yuval Scharf, and Alma Zack star in Joseph Cedar’s import from Israel, ‘Footnote’. Lauded by critics and a darling of film festivals, this unique, complicated and intriguing story concerns a father and son who both are scholars and researchers at the Talmud Department of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Based upon a true story, this well acted story of perseverance may just catch you off guard. Nominated for this year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar, ‘Footnote’ is a welcomed breath of fresh air in a summer of mostly forgettable entries on video.
This tale of the ultimate rivalry between a father and son has echoes of such films like ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and ‘Searching for Bobby Fisher”. Both eccentric professors in the Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the film focuses on the disparately between the two. The son has an addictive dependency on the embrace and accolades that the establishment provides, while his father is a stubborn purist with a fear and profound revulsion for what the establishment stands for. Despite his utter contempt lies a deeper desire for recognition. The Israel Prize, Israel’s most prestigious national award, is the ultimate prize that brings these two to a final, bitter confrontation.
Extras include ‘An Evening with Joseph Cedar’, as well as ‘Behind the Scenes of Joseph Cedar’s Film Footnote’ featurette.
New Line’s 90′s reboot of ‘Dr. Moreau’ was trashed by critics and ignored by audiences when it first hit theaters in 1996. Starring Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer, ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ slowly began to build a cult following in the years that followed. Sixteen years later, the long awaited director’s cut by John Frankenheimer comes to blu-ray. Certain to draw some interest among the curious after the passing of Brando and Frankenheimer, this odd but intriguing remake is campy at best.
This strange little tale based upon the classic H.G. Wells story concerns the plight of a mad scientist (Brando) whose experiments in crossbreeding humans with animals have gone terribly awry. David Thewlis plays the wayward scholar who is rescued at sea by Kilmer and brought to Moreau’s island to discover the doctor’s unnatural offspring. Brando in perfect fashion chews the scenes with Kilmer doing his best to stay in step and not get lost amongst the scenery. Special effects wizard Stan Winston are responsible for the crossbreed creations. A guilty pleasure at best, this colossal failure is nonetheless completely watchable–if for nothing just to see Brando and Kilmer on screen together.
In addition to offering a “director’s cut” with previously unseen footage, the blu ray includes audio commentary by director John Frankenheimer, who replaced the original director on short notice and completed this film under highly stressful conditions.
Period romance drama ‘The Deep Blue Sea’ (not to be confused with the cheesy Jaws knockoff a few years ago called ‘Deep Blue Sea’) comes to blu ray after a brief stay at selected theaters. Starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, and Ann Mitchell, this soapy melodrama directed by Terence Davies failed to make enough of an impact with critics to warrant a wider release. That said this well-acted character study has enough going for it to stir at least some curious interest on video before hitting the cable outlets.
Set in the 1950s, the film examines the plight of a young woman, Hester Collyer (Weisz) who we first meet after recovering from a botched suicide attempt. Slowly we discover that she’s torn between two lovers. She was originally married to the wealthy High Court judge Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale), but was cheating on him with the careless former Royal Air Force pilot Freddie Page (Hiddleston). The love triangle crisscrosses as Hess had a mutual affection for Collyer, but fell into deep, passionate love with Freddie. Although performances are up to speed with what you might expect of the cast, the story simply doesn’t feel compelling enough to warrant a feature treatment.
Extras include director’s commentary as well as theatrical trailers.
This week is chock full of surprises, including another well crafted but sadly overlooked thriller titled ‘On the Inside’. Starring Nick Stahl and Olivia Wilde, this edgy entry in the direct-to-video market should stir up some interest for those looking for something a little different to sink your teeth into. Directed by D.W. Brown, this thriller set inside a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane will keep you on the due of your seat for it’s 95 minute film length. Stahl, for all his personal problems, maintains a hell of a stage presence and helps keep this thriller on track until the end.
After a revenge killing goes tragically wrong, a troubled college professor (Stahl) is sentenced to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. But through an experimental socialization program, he meets a beautiful fellow inmate who is hiding a shocking secret of her own–not to mention a volatile psychopath with a deadly history, which is, bound to repeat itself. Dark, twisted and with a healthy dose of surprises, ‘On the Inside’ will leave you guessing until the end.
Extras sadly are nonexistent except for a plethora of trailers.
SyFy’s fantasy action adventure ‘Age of Dragons’ comes to blu-ray a few short months after airing on the network. Starring Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Corey Sevier, and Sofia Pernas, this tight little tale is based upon an adaptation of Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. Gone is the sea worthy adventure as well as the whale. Now set in a medieval realm with Moby incarnated into the body of a dragon. This family friendly adventure, directed by Ryan Little, hits most of all its marks with flying colors.
The story wastes no time kicking into gear with Captain Ahab and his motley crew hunting down dragons for the vitriol that powers their world. There by his side is Ishmael, a charismatic harpooner and his friend Queequeg. There to add spice and a little romance is Ahab’s adopted daughter Rachel, beautiful and tough, as she helps run the hunting vessel. Ahab’s obsession to seek revenge on a great White Dragon that slaughtered his family when he was young and left his body scarred and mauled, drives the crew deeper into the heart of darkness. Glover embodies the role of the tortured Ahab with finesse and flare but has a hard time keeping this low-budget adventure afloat given its limited production values that can’t help this high flying adventure feeling a little tinny and shallow.
Extras include a litany of trailers and promos for other SyFy properties.