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article imageReview: New on DVD for October 21 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 23, 2014 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include an ‘80s icon who gained and lost a cult following; a misadventure that demonstrates the dangers of “the cloud”; a compilation of film noir classics; and a flawlessly casted biopic.
CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (DVD)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
The VH1 original movie chronicles the TLC’s (T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli) humble beginnings in Atlanta, GA and its unprecedented rise to fame in the 1990's as one of the world's most talented, celebrated, and highest-selling female groups of all time. Through very public and high-profile turmoil, success, and tragedy, TLC left an indelible stamp of female empowerment that changed the face of the music industry forever.
TLC emerged as a strong female voice in an industry dominated by male ones. Even just casually following their career, it was clear it was shrouded in struggle and controversy. Though undeniably one-sided, this biopic appears to adequately capture their look, personalities and story. T-Boz is the story's narrator and generally the voice of reason. The key difficulties the girls face are her sickle-cell anaemia, Left-eye's temper and possible alcoholism, and Chilli's troubled love life. Undoubtedly a piece of VH1 behind-the-music-type fluff, it still gives fans a glimpse into the not-so personal lives of the group.
Special features include: exclusive archive footage of TLC from MTV/VH1 vaults; and behind-the-scenes and interviews with the cast. (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Film Noir Collection (DVD)
Timeless Media Group
This collection brings together some of the best directors (Fritz Lang, Orson Welles and John Huston) and actors (Humphrey Bogart, John Garfield, Gene Tierney, Edward G. Robinson, and Beverly Garland) in ten spine-tingling tales of hard-boiled detectives, seductive women, mistaken identity and suspense, in the best tradition of Film Noir!
DOA: Frank Bigelow, told he's been poisoned and has only a few days to live, tried to find out who killed him and why.
Beat the Devil: On their way to Africa are a group of rogues who hope to get rich there, and a seemingly innocent British couple. They meet and things happen.
Impact: No-nonsense San Francisco industrial whiz Walter Williams's two-timing wife and her lover plot to do her husband in, but Williams survives the attack and the lover is burned beyond recognition while driving Williams's car.
The Stranger: An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi.
Scarlet Street: When a man in mid-life crisis befriends a young woman, her venal fiancé persuades her to con him out of some of the fortune she thinks he has.
Shock: A psychologically distraught woman is committed to a private sanatorium by the man whom she witnessed commit a murder.
Port of New York: Two narcotics agents go after a gang of murderous drug dealers who use ships docking at the New York harbor to smuggle in their contraband.
They Made Me A Criminal: A boxer flees believing he has committed a murder while he was drunk.
Whirlpool: A woman secretly suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an effort to cure her condition. Soon afterwards, she is found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there and seemingly no way to prover her innocence
Quicksand: After borrowing twenty dollars from his employer's cash register, an auto mechanic is plunged into a series of increasingly disastrous circumstances which rapidly spiral out of control.
There are several things that define this category of cinema. Though the color of the film was mostly dictated by available technology, it still tends to play better in black and white even today. Most of the action unfolds in low light and on location night-for-night shooting is a common practice. The stories are usually crime dramas featuring a detective or someone accidentally entering a life of crime as demonstrated by the short synopses above. This collection is a small but encompassing sampling of the genre, featuring some of its most prominent stars including Humphrey Bogart, Lon Chaney Jr. and Vincent Price. Price's Shock is a definite standout thriller, while Port of New York is very much a procedural.
There are no special features. (Timeless Media Group)
Misfire (DVD)
RLJ Entertainment
A fearless D.E.A. agent waging a one man crusade against drug cartels on the U.S.-Mexico border, Cole (Gary Daniels) will stop at nothing to bring down the bad guys. When his ex-wife is kidnapped and his brother framed for it, Cole’s battle against the cartel becomes personal. With the help of local reporter, the headstrong and hot-blooded Gracie, he navigates the deadly Tijuana underworld run by brutal kingpin Raul Montenegro. Now the clock is ticking down to a final showdown where justice will be decided at gunpoint.
When an action movie advertises the lead actor is a former professional kickboxer, it seems reasonable to expect the majority of conflicts will be resolved hand-to-hand à la Jean-Claude Van Damme and the like. Apparently these filmmakers disagree. There is so much gunfire in this movie, it becomes dull. Each time the protagonist confronts his enemy, the result grows to be utterly predictable — they're going to shoot at each other for an extended period of time. Only including one major fight at the end of the picture seems like a waste of talent in a movie that could have used the help.
There are no special features. (RLJ Entertainment)
Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory
Scream along to the “Secret Word” with Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) and his pals — Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the Mail Lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and many more!
It's hard to believe Pee-wee Herman began as the lead character in a late-night adult variety show — essentially the type of act you may find between peep show performances. And then some network head had the brilliant foresight to see it could have a larger audience if the content was kid-friendly. That's not to say watching now that there still isn't any innuendo, but it goes over the heads of younger viewers. Laurence Fishburne even co-starred as series regular, Cowboy Curtis. The talking furniture, such as Chairry, remains iconic to this day. The regular Penny cartoons were always amusing and sometimes a little dark, while the animations from way back in the vault matched the quirky nature of the show that was heavily inspired by ‘50s children’s shows such as Captain Kangaroo. If it hadn't been for Reubens' legal troubles, the show probably would have continued beyond five seasons.
Special features include: “Building the Playhouse”; “Opening the Playhouse”; “Writing for the Playhouse”; “The Look of the Playhouse”; “Music of the Playhouse”; “The Cast of the Playhouse”; “Puppets of the Playhouse”; “Animating the Playhouse”; “A Very Merry Christmas Special”; and “Fans and Memorabilia of the Playhouse.” (Shout Factory)
Sex Tape (Blu-ray & Digital copy)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Jay (Jason Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) are a married couple still very much in love, but 10 years and two kids have cooled the passion. To get it back, they decide to make a video of themselves trying out every position in “The Joy Of Sex” in one three-hour marathon session. It seems like a great idea until they discover that their most private video has gone public. In a panic, they begin a wild night of adventure — tracking down leads, roping in friends and duping Annie’s boss — all to reclaim their video, their reputation, their sanity and, most importantly, their marriage.
It often feels as if there's a new celebrity scandal involving some level of nudity almost weekly. When the news hits, it's a leading story and common topic of discussion. And those are people you don't even know personally. After demonstrating they have great chemistry in Bad Teacher, Segal and Diaz reunite in less antagonizing roles. Their thoughtless attempt to physically recover the video can be attributed to a rash reaction caused by panic, but it's obviously the only way to turn this mishap into a feature-length movie; after all, what's exciting about just hitting the delete button. Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper double the couple comedy as the best friends vicariously using their misfortune to spice up their own love life. It's all a little over-the-top, but fun nonetheless.
Special features include: deleted and extended scenes; “Romance Reboot with Dr. Jenn Berman”; “Capturing the Moment”; “Meet Hank Rosenbaum”; Line-O-Rama; and bloopers. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
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