Ben Affleck not only stars in, but also directs this true tale of a CIA agent’s far-out plan to pose as a movie crew scouting locations in order to get into Iraq and sneak out a group of Americans who are hiding out in the home of the Canadian ambassador during the Iraq revolution. Along with the prerequisite director’s audio commentary comes a feature-length “picture in picture” account from some of the survivors of this event including President Jimmy Carter and Tony Mendez (the actual CIA agent played by Affleck in the film) and the 2005 TV documentary Escape From Iran: The Hollywood Option. (Warner)
In this new adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic novel, director Joe Wright (Atonement) has created a stylistic interpretation of the tale of a married Russian socialite (Keira Knightly) who risks her future and place in society when she has an affair with a handsome count (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). (Alliance)
After moving into a new home in which the last residents were brutally murdered, a writer (Ethan Hawke) delves into finding out what happened to them including looking at old video footage he finds. Somehow all of this opens up his own family to the same supernatural dangers.
In the tradition of such filmmakers as Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie comes this violent comedy featuring an ensemble cast of tough-guy actors. Irish writer-director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) weaves this tale of a hapless screenwriter (Colin Farrell) who accidentally becomes involved with low-level L.A. criminals (Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken) when his friends kidnap the dog of a crime boss (Woody Harrelson).
This raucous teen farce harkens back to the days of films like Animal House and Sixteen Candles as teenage Wren (Nickelodeon regular Victoria Justice) finally gets noticed by her crush Aaron and gets invited to a Halloween party. Unfortunately, her mother (Chelsea Handler) insists she take her annoying little brother trick-or-treating. When she decides to do both, things get wildly out of control. (Paramount)
McKenna Shoots for the Stars
In the latest in a series of films from the American Girl franchise comes this uplifting tale of a young girl named McKenna (Jade Pettyjohn) whose dreams of becoming an Olympic gymnast are dashed by an injury and a neglect of her academic work. It’s only when she meets a wheelchair-bound tutor that she realizes the importance of balance in her life. Nia Vardalos and Ian Ziering co-star as her parents while Olympic silver medalist Cathy Rigby appears as her coach.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren team up in this action flick in which Austin plays a Transporter-type delivery man whose latest assignment to deliver a “package” to a crime lord called The German (Lundgren) is sabotaged by a rival gang of criminals. (Anchor Bay)
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden
In an attempt to beat Zero Dark Thirty to the punch, comes this low-budget look at the American soldiers who risked their lives to seek out and bring down Osama Bin Laden. (eOne)
Atlas Shrugged Part II
Samantha Mathis stars in this film adaptation (the second of a trilogy) of Ayn Rand’s famous novel.
The Man From Shaolin
When a 32nd generation Chinese Shaolin Fighting Monk moves to New York to take care of his orphaned niece, he has trouble adapting to a country where his ancient and honorable skills are unimportant. (eOne)
Terrorvision/The Video Dead
Like every decade before and since, the horror genre has its honest gems and its “so bad they’re good” cult classics. The 1980s are no exception as this re-packaged combo of two “video” related comedy-horror films of the latter description proves. In 1986’s Terrorvision, a family sets up their new satellite dish and begins to receive garbage energy from another dimension in space - including a man-eating trash monster. In The Video Dead (1987), another family - this time living in the remote woods - moves into their new home to discover a strange TV that delivers zombies instead of its regularly scheduled programming.
Before Viggo Mortensen became the respected actor he is today, he needed to earn a living and this 1988 horror film probably put a few meals on his table. Here he plays a falsely convicted man who is sent to his death in the electric chair. Years later, when the now abandoned execution chamber is destroyed, the dead man’s ghost enters the prison seeking revenge for his murder.
This mystical comedy-drama from 1987 stars Marianne Sagebrehct as a German woman who takes over a remote gas station/cafe/motel in the Nevada desert where she becomes involved in the lives of some of the locals (including Burt Lancaster and CCH Pounder, who both put in fine performances).
Diane Kruger and Djimon Hansou star in this gripping thriller about a French journalist who is captured by the Taliban while on assignment in Afghanistan and the team of Special Forces operatives who are sent in to rescue her. (Alliance)
TV ON DVD:
Game of Thrones: Season Two
George R.R. Martin’s epic novels return to the small screen with plans afoot from all directions to bring down the new king – the despicable young Joffrey Lannister (Jack Gleeson), whose every move is calculated by his equally evil mother (Lena Headey) and her brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage, who garnered an Emmy Award for his role last season). In the North, the Stark clan led by Robb Stark (Richard Madden) struggles to build an army while the beautiful and recently widowed Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clark), armed with her dragons, begins to build her own powerful force to take on King’s Landing. But they are not alone, as Stannis Baratheon, the brother of the late king also has plans to challenge the right to the throne when he enlists the help of a powerful priestess. This 5-disc set features all 10 episodes and loads of bonus features, while the blu-ray version includes two additional bonus DVDs. (Warner Home Video)
The Naked City: 20 Star-filled Episodes
“There are 8 million stories in the naked city...” began the narration of this ground-breaking crime drama that ran on ABC from 1958 until 1963. What made it stand out from the pack was a combination of gritty realism (which was thanks in large to shooting the series on location in New York City), topical scripts (courtesy of screenwriters like future Oscar-winner Sterling Silliphant, who later wrote the film In the Heat of the Night) and early performances from many young actors just starting out in film and TV.
It’s this latter category that has helped this series remain such a favourite for many fans. Built around a loose storyline of NYPD cops (including James Franciscus in the first season and Paul Burke throughout the rest of the run) solving crimes, this drama was more of an anthology series which allowed the guest stars the majority of the screen time. This help make the show such a winner including earning one episode (The Sweet Prince of Delancey Street) featuring Dustin Hoffman a place in TV Guide’s Top 100 Episodes of All Time).
Although not all of its 138 episodes are available yet on DVD, a recent collection of 20 episodes (available in a 5-disc set) offers a glimpse of the quality that was produced over 50 years ago. Among the actors guest-starring in these are Gene Hackman, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Christopher Walken, James Caan and William Shatner making this a worthy addition to any collection of classic TV.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome
Originally created as a web-series, this spin-off prequel of the hit sci-fi series looks at the early life of William Adama (Luke Pasqualino) as he fought in the first Cylon War and features a top-notch cast of local talent including Brian Markinson, John Pyper-Ferguson, Adrian Holmes and Tricia Helfer. This is a combination of the 10 12-minute episodes fleshed out into one feature-film.