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article imageReview: New on DVD for December 27 Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Dec 28, 2016 in Entertainment
This week’s releases include an updated version of a cult classic; the latest chapter in a man’s complex attempt at normalcy; the union of two great actors; and an unexpected romance.
Dog Eat Dog (Blu-ray)
RLJ Entertainment
Ex-cons Troy (Nicolas Cage), Mad Dog (Willem Dafoe) and Diesel (Christopher Matthew Cook) are hired by an eccentric mob boss to kidnap a baby for a large ransom. When the abduction goes awry, the trio find themselves on the run from the mob and the cops. Vowing to stay out of prison at all costs, getting away with the crime is literally a matter of life and death.
This movie is a like a series of crime-themed vignettes featuring this trio of inept crooks with unique personalities carrying out various jobs that they inevitably and accidentally screw up. Troy is the brains of the operation, brokering deals and trying to keep the conflicting personalities on the same track. Mad Dog has the odd combination of a violently short-fuse and a relatively big heart, which undoubtedly makes him the most interesting of the bunch. Dafoe’s performance stands well above his co-stars’ as both the most eccentric and captivating. Diesel is smarter than he looks and probably the least member of their group. Unfortunately the film is a complete mess structurally, negating even the most over-the-top deliveries in director Paul Schrader’s latest endeavour.
Special features include: commentary by director Paul Schrader; Nicolas Cage video introduction; BeyondFest Q&A with Nicolas Cage and Paul Schrader; and photo gallery. (RLJ Entertainment)
Phantasm: Remastered (Blu-ray & DVD)
Well Go USA
At a funeral, Mike (Michael Baldwin), watches as a tall mortician clad in black (Angus Scrimm) tosses the unburied coffin into a waiting hearse as if it were nothing. Seeking the truth behind this unusual sight, Mike breaks into the mortuary, where he comes face-to-face with the sinister Tall Man. After barely managing to escape with his life, Mike enlists the help of his brother, Jody (Bill Thornbury), and their friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister). Together they set out to uncover the secrets of the Tall Man and those who dwell in his hellish world.
This is a cult classic that introduced audiences to the Tall Man and created as many questions as it answered. Mike witnesses some pretty unbelievable stuff before anyone else becomes involved… but a still-animate severed finger can be quite convincing when trying to tell an adult something weird is happening at the local cemetery. From the shrunken zombie druids, to the floating death spheres, to the impeccably white portal room, this movie goes all out when it comes to weird things in horror movies — but it all works really well together. Writer/director Don Coscarelli would build his career in the realm of the weird and fantastical, and this was essentially the start of that journey. The bonus feature that includes the revival of a ’71 Cuda in tribute of the movie is a bit of added fun.
Special features include: commentary by writer/director Don Coscarelli, and cast members Michael Baldwin, Angus Scrimm and Bill Thornbury; deleted scenes; episode of Graveyard Cars; and interviews from 1979 with Don Coscarelli and Angus Scrimm. (Well Go USA)
Ray Donovan: The Complete Fourth Season (DVD)
Paramount Home Media Distribution
Ray Donovan (Liev Schreiber) is focused on healing himself and his damaged relationship with his family. But Ray is soon pulled back into his old life by a troubled boxer and an enigmatic art dealer with ties to the Russian mafia.
After the mess of last season, Ray promised to turn over a new leaf; but old transgressions and new friends make it very difficult for Ray to keep his promise. His reputation continues to precede him in spite of his attempt at a new path. Of course, Mickey’s run for father of the year includes leaving his son to take the fall for him, robbery, murder and unexpected loyalty. In the meantime, Terry and Bunchy are finding happiness via their new relationships and trying not to get dragged down (or killed) by the current drama. Ray spends the majority of the season trying to stay within the lines and negotiate everyone’s safety; however, he’s truly at the top of his game when he throws that game plan out the window and does what he does best by outsmarting his adversaries.
Special features include: character profiles: Ray and Mickey Donovan; Location: Primm; and “Female Strong.” (Paramount Home Media Distribution)
Tumbledown (Blu-ray)
VVS Films
Pop culture scholar Andrew (Jason Sudeikis) comes to Maine to interview Hannah (Rebecca Hall), the protective widow of an acclaimed singer. When the unlikely pair strike a deal to co-write a biography, Andrew finds himself clashing with a cast of locals, including Hannah’s hunky suitor (Joe Manganiello), and her loving but defensive parents (Blythe Danner and Richard Masur). When Hannah and Andrew's stormy partnership blossoms into an unexpected connection, they face the possibility that the next chapter in their lives may involve each other.
This is an interesting story that touches on a very personal journey not really explored in film. When a celebrity passes, their fans feel entitled to the intimate details of their life and death. But in actuality, that information belongs solely to his or her loved ones and they should be left to decide how much or little they want to share with the world. Andrew loved Hannah’s husband for his talent, which gives them something in common — but Andrew often oversteps as he confuses his admiration with genuine knowledge and privilege. It’s somewhat strange how the story gradually transforms into a love story, but the transition subtle and in line with the narrative so it doesn’t feel forced or inappropriate.
Special features include: making-of featurette; and “The Music Behind Tumbledown.” (VVS Films)
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