THIS WEEK’S THEATRICAL RELEASES:
“Endless Love”: The story of a privileged girl and a charismatic boy whose instant desire sparks a love affair made only more reckless by parents trying to keep them apart. Lifeless and bland remake of Franco Zeffirelli’s 1981 film of same name, which itself was pretty trite and mindless (unlike the Scott Spencer novel it was based on). Stars Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick and Rhys Wakefield. Extras include “The Making of Endless Love,” an extended ending, deleted/extended/alternate scenes. From Universal.
THIS WEEK’S HIGHLIGHTS:
Now that director Wes Anderson has had a critical and boxoffice success with “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (which is due to arrive on DVD and Blu-ray on June 17), pundits have been reevaluating the auteur’s output and are casting gleeful eyes at many of his overlooked gems, taking closer looks at “The Royal Tenenbaums,” (2001) “Rushmore” (1998) and “Bottle Rocket” (1996). The folks over at The Criterion Collection are one step ahead of the curve, and have re-released one of Anderson’s most overlooked films, “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” (2004) in a new Blu-ray edition. Once again Anderson has created a unique world of his own, populated with oddball and over-the-edge characters reveling in oddball and over-the-edge adventures. Internationally famous and eccentric oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) and his crew — Team Zissou — set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou’s partner during the documentary filming of their latest adventure. They are joined on their voyage by a young airline co-pilot (Owen Wilson); a pregnant journalist (Cate Blanchett); and Zissou’s estranged wife, Eleanor (Anjelica Huston). Anderson assembled an all-star cast that also included Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Seu Jorge, and Bud Cort for this wildly original adventure comedy. And don’t forget the pirates. In a new, restored digital transfer, approved by Anderson, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Also this week from Criterion are restored versions of Howard Hawks’ classic Western “Red River” (1948), a rowdy and whip-smart film that stars John Wayne as an embittered, tyrannical Texas rancher whose tensions with his independent-minded adopted son, played by Montgomery Clift in a breakout performance, reach epic proportions during a cattle drive to Missouri, which is based on a real-life late 19th century expedition. Hawks is less interested in historical accuracy than in tweaking the codes of masculinity that propel the myths of the American West. The film is in two versions: a new 4K digital restoration of the rarely presented original theatrical release version, the preferred cut of Hawks, with monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray; and a 2K restoration of the longer version of “Red River.” In a Blu-ray/DVD Dual Format Edition.
There’s plenty of great TV coming to DVD this week:
“The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete Series” (1972-78) Nineteen-disc set with all 142 episodes of the sitcom classic that stars the incomparable Bob Newhart as Dr. Robert Hartley, a Chicago psychologist who finds himself surrounded by some unusual and neurotic characters on the job, as well as at home. Stars Suzanne Pleshette as his quick-witted and understanding wife and Bill Daily as his off-kilter neighbor. David Davis and Lorenzo Music, the writers and producers behind “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” created the series specifically with Bob Newhart in mind. According to Vince Waldron in his essay printed in the set’s accompanying 40-page booklet, like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” the series was populated by witty, sincere people who daily faced the irrational realities of ordinary life. The show’s undercurrent of preposterous logic was actually an outgrowth of Newhart’s own clearly defined comic persona. The performer, whose nightclub act routinely featured one-sided conversations with Abraham Lincoln, Sir Walter Raleigh, and King Kong, was certainly no stranger to surrealism. “Comedy,” Newhart once said, “is my way of bringing logic to an illogical situation.” There’s also little doubt that Pleshette’s unapologetic sensuality gave the show a distinctive, sophisticated edge. Extras include the original unaired pilot; “Group Therapy” (2014), in which Newhart sits down with Peter Bonerz, Jack Riley, Bill Daily and Michael Zinberg; “The Bob Newhart Show 19th Anniversary” (1991), in which the entire cast assembles for a one-hour clip show that finds the show’s characters in the present day; commentaries with Newhart, Marcia Wallace, David Davis, Peter Bonerz, Fred Willard, Jim Burrows, Suzanne Pleshette, Tom Poston and Jack Riley; gag reel; 40 page collectable booklet with an essay by Emmy-winning writer Vince Waldron. $129.99 from Shout! Factory.
“The Bridge – Season One” (2011 — Denmark/Sweden) Four-disc set with 10 episodes. The series begins when a woman is found murdered in the middle of the Oresund Bridge, right on the border between Sweden and Denmark. Police from both countries are called to the scene and what looks like one murder, turns out to be two. It’s a spectacular double murder: the bodies have been brutally cut in half at the waist and put together to form a single corpse. It’s also just the beginning of a wave of violence the likes of which no one has ever seen before. Both police forces find themselves in a race against the clock in a deadly showdown with a superior enemy, and no one will be the same when it’s over. Inspired the FX remake that aired in the U.S. in 2013. In Swedish and Danish with English Subtitles. $49.95 from MHz Home Entertainment.
“Cimarron Strip: The Complete Series” (1967-68) Eight-disc set with all 23 feature-length episodes, $79.98. Airing on CBS from September 1967 to March of 1968, the series was produced by the creators of “Gunsmoke,” and was one of only three 90-minute weekly Western series that aired during the 1960s (the others are “The Virginian” and, for one season, “Wagon Train”) and the only 90-minute series of any kind to be centered primarily around one lead character. Set in 1888 as the frontier was closing, U.S. Marshall Jim Crown (Stuart Whitman) was assigned to protect Cimarron (the border region between the Kansas Territory and Indian Territory) and surrounding areas, following a stint cleaning up Abilene. Arriving to find that the local sheriff had resigned, it falls upon Crown to keep law and order in a lawless land. Guest stars included Beau Bridges, David Carradine, Seymour Cassel, Joseph Cotton, Robert Duvall, Victor French, Mariette Hartley, Darren McGavin, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Oates, Slim Pickens, Suzanne Pleshette, Denver Pyle, Telly Savalas, John Saxon, Tom Skerrit, Harry Dean Stanton, Jon Voight, Tuesday Weld and many more. From Entertainment One.
“Wallander (Season 3)” (2013 – Sweden) Krister Henriksson returns as Detective Kurt Wallander from the best-selling crime series by Swedish author Henning Mankell. Wallander is Ystad’s veteran detective who’s finally learned to find respite from the job in the moments of grace that came from living on the beach with his dog, Jussi, or spending time with his granddaughter. He’s still on the outs at work, however: offbeat methods make him an irritant for management and his colleague, Martinsson, is angling for his position. But no one in the department has the uncanny sense of the criminal mind that he does. Whether it’s Cold War spies, pedophiles, human traffickers or kidnappers, Wallander knows when he’s being lied to and when the story hasn’t been fully told. Wallander is also trying to get a few things right with his daughter and fellow cop, Linda. He’s arrived at his life’s twilight clinging to the one thing he knows, which is how to do police work. In that, Wallander is a man at the top of his game. He’s also a man at the end of his game. In Swedish with English Subtitles. Four-disc set with five episodes, $69.95 from MHz Home Entertainment.
There’s a pair of horror outings making their Blu-ray debuts this week:
“Sleepaway Camp Collector’s Edition” (1983), starring Felissa Rose, Jonathan Tiersten, Paul DeAngelo, Karen Fields, Desiree Gould, Frank Saladino in a new 2K scan of the original camera negative, available in a Blu-ray/DVD combo from Scream factory/Shout! Factory: Welcome to Camp Arawak, where teenagers learn to experience the joys of nature, as well as each other. But when these happy campers begin to die in a series of horrible “accidents,” they discover that someone — or something — has turned their summer of fun into a vacation to dismember … and “Dan Curtis’ Dracula” (1974 — TV), starring Jack Palance, Fiona Lewis, Simon Ward and Nigel Davenport. Adapted for the small screen by sci-fi/horror master Richard Matheson (“The Twilight Zone,” “I Am Legend,” “Duel”) and produced by the legendary Dan Curtis (“Dark Shadows,” “Trilogy of Terror,” “The Winds of War”). Palance stars as Count Dracula, whose centuries-old existence is threatened after he attacks the lovely Lucy Westenra and her fiance calls in famed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing to investigate. Transferred and restored in 2K High Definition from the original 35mm camera negative. From MPI Home Video.