Friday, April 18, 2014
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Robert Downey Jr. in “Iron Man 3.”
Suggested retail price: $49.98; Blu-ray $59.99.
NEW TO BLU-RAY
"HALLOWEEN: 35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION," starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence. We have director John Carpenter to thank (or blame, depending on your point on view) for the modern slasher movie, but even after legions of copycats, it's pretty hard to top the 1978 original, with shambling, seemingly indestructible masked serial killer Michael Myers creepily pursuing scream queen Curtis through her suburban community. Hundreds of films have upped the gore quotient since, but in hindsight "Halloween" is all the more unsettling for what isn't shown, a lesson that unfortunately hasn't carried over. Special features include an all-new commentary from Carpenter and Curtis and a featurette that follows Curtis to a fan convention. Rated R. Running time: 1:31. Suggested retail price: $34.99.
"PSYCHO II" AND "PSYCHO III," starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles. While neither sequel can hope to hold a candle to Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece of terror, both "II" (1983) and "III" (1986) have their low-rent charms, giving the always entertaining Perkins a chance to flesh out his iconic character and ham it up with abandon. Special features include new interviews with cast and crew and commentaries from screenwriters Tom Holland and Charles Edward Pogue. Rated R. Running time: 1:53/1:33. Suggested retail price: $29.93.
"THE KINGS OF SUMMER," starring Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso. As blissful and irresponsible as summer itself, director and "Funny or Die" vet Jordan Vogt-Roberts' "The Kings of Summer" is a witty and wise throwback, mashing up an old-fashioned "Swiss Family Robinson" motif with a more modern improv-heavy sensibility, resulting in a true original. Concerning the efforts of teens Joe (Robinson, "Melissa & Joey"), Patrick (Basso, "Super 8"), and Biaggio (Disney Channel favorite Moises Arias of "Hannah Montana," who just about runs away with the picture) to construct a private wonderland in the woods in an attempt to escape their uninspiring parents, "Summer" will above all make you pine for the idle days of summer vacation, with gorgeous cinematography from Ross Riege ("Me Him Her") perfectly capturing the lazily gorgeous tone. Memorable supporting performances from such comic mainstays as Nick Offerman ("Parks and Recreation"), Mary Lynn Rajskub ("Mr. Show"), and popular stand-up Hannibal Buress round out the film nicely, but in the end it's the three young leads who make this "Summer" vacation one for the books. Rated R. Running time: 1:35.
Suggested retail price: $30.99; Blu-ray $35.99.
"ROOM 237," documentary. More of an ode to deconstruction than to Kubrick, director Rodney Ascher's "Room 237" gathers several interviewees of varying trustworthiness, but all with one thing in common: They're obsessed with Stanley's Kubrick's 1980 adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining." A film that failed to set any box office records during its initial theatrical release, "The Shining" has since taken on a life of its own over the years, with many a fan enamored with its off-kilter approach and hallucinatory visions of horror. However, there exists a select few who have managed to uncover hints and visual messages within the film itself that point to underlying messages about Native American genocide, space travel conspiracies, and all manner of diabolical "easter eggs" that Kubrick himself would likely be amazed (not to mention amused) by. With clips from the film on hand to support the various claims, the discoveries range from patently ridiculous to surprisingly astute. Either way, it's great fun listening to what these observant and quirky folks come up with, and no doubt any films you watch thereafter will be viewed with a far more incisive eye. Not rated. Running time: 1:42.
Suggested retail price: $27.98; Blu-ray $29.98.
-- Courtesy of Videoport