BY MARK BURGER
DVD PICK OF THE WEEK: EATING RAOUL (The Criterion Collection)
A well-deserved special edition of Paul Bartel’s deliciously subversive 1982 black comedy, one of the principal cult comedies of the ’80s.
Bartel and Mary Woronov play Paul and Mary Bland, an aptlynamed couple whose dream is to open their own restaurant (“Paul & Mary’s Country Kitchen”). Strapped for cash, opportunity comes knocking — literally — when a drunken swinger bursts into their apartment and is summarily bashed over the head with a frying pan.
Luring and murdering swingers proves lucrative for the straightlaced couple — swingers always seem to have plenty of cash on hand — and the film delightfully sends up the sexual revolution in a manner that is broad yet filled with subtle touches.
Bartel and Woronov are deliciously droll and enormously appealing (in spite of their murderous ways) in what would become their signature roles, their deadpan demeanor deftly balanced by Robert Beltran (as Raoul), Ed Begley Jr., Hamilton Camp, Edie Mc- Clurg, “the Real” Don Steele and Buck Henry, as the aptly-named bank loan manager Mr. Leech. Eating Raoul is a wacky, wonderful one of a kind.
The DVD retails for $29.95, the Blu-ray for $39.95. Both contain extensive special features including audio commentary, vintage interviews and more. Rated R.
“2012 LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES” (Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment): A self-explanatory collection of highlights from the past summer’s Olympic Games: “Gymnastics: Going for the Gold” retails on DVD for $19.97,” “Games of the XXX Olympiad: Highlights” retails on DVD for $13.93, and “Games of the XXX Olympiad” Blu-ray collector’s edition retails for $39.93.
THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF THE NEW YORK GIANTS (NFL Films/Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment): A self-explanatory sports documentary ($26.97 retail) that explores the history of New York’s football franchise, which was founded in 1925 and has won eight world championships including four Super Bowls… yet is based in New Jersey.
“DEXTER”: THE COMPLETE SIXTH SEASON (CBS DVD/Showtime Networks/ Paramount Home Entertainment): He’s well-mannered, good-looking, and he’s a serial killer… Michael C Hall (Emmy nominee for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series) returns as the title terror, a Miami forensics expert with a (very) dark secret life, in all 12 episodes from the 2011 season of the award-winning Showtime series. Series regulars Jennifer Carpenter (Hall’s ex-wife), Lauren Velez and James Remar are joined by guest stars Edward James Olmos, Colin Hanks and Mos Def. The DVD boxed set retails for $54.99, the Blu-ray boxed set for $67.99.
GONE HOLLYWOOD (Image Entertainment): Forgettable, sitcom-level comedy with Fernando Carrillo as a down-on-hisluck TV star who inherits his father’s bar in Texas and predictably learns about the benefits of a simple life. *
HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS (Anchor Bay Entertainment): The Blu-ray bow ($24.99 retail) of the 1988 shocker, directed by Dwight H Little, which brought Dr. Loomis (the inimitable Donald Pleasence) and Michael Myers (George P Wilbur) back to the franchise fold, and was better than anyone had any right to expect. Rated R.
HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (Anchor Bay Entertainment): The Blu-ray bow ($24.99 retail) of the 1989 shocker, directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard, with inimitable Donald Pleasence back as Dr Loomis and Don Shanks as Michael Myers, which was worse than anyone could have feared. The nadir of the entire series. Rated R. No stars
“HAWAII FIVE-O”: THE SECOND SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment): “Aloha” means action in all 23 episodes from the 2011-’12 season of the top-rated 21st century revival of the classic crime drama, with Alex O’Loughlin as the latter-day Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan as “Danno” Williams. Emmy nomination for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. The DVD boxed set retails for $64.99, the Blu-ray boxed set for $72.99.
JIM GAFFIGAN: MR. UNIVERSE (Image Entertainment): The actor/comedian discusses family, food, fitness and even sea monsters, as he performs in a live stand-up special recorded in Washington, DC. The DVD retails for $14.98.
MESKADA (Anchor Bay Entertainment): Writer/director Josh Sternfeld’s dour, morose whodunit stars Nick Stahl and Rachel Nichols as detectives trying to solve the murder of a boy in an wealthy suburb. Attempts at a John Sayles-type complexity fall short, but some nicely observed moments. Grace Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter), Kellan Lutz, Jonathan Tucker, Norman Reedus and Roxana Zal round out a somber cast. Rated R.
“MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: XXIV” (Shout! Factory): The Satellite of Love keeps spinning in this latest DVD selection ($59.97 retail) of four not-soclassic feature films given the once-over by the award-winning, long-running comedy series: The Japanese sci-fi fiascos Fugitive Alien and Star Force: Fugitive Alien II (both 1987), the 1956 Soviet fantasy The Sword and the Dragon, and the irresistibly titled Samson vs. the Vampire Women (1962). Bonus features include interviews, special introductions, comedy shorts and more.
“NCIS: LOS ANGELES”: THE THIRD SEASON (CBS DVD/Paramount Home Entertainment): Chris O’Donnell, LL Cool J and their crack Naval Criminal Investigative Service team are back in action in all 24 episodes from the 2011-’12 season of the popular, award-winning CBS crime series spun off from “NCIS.” Emmy nomination for Outstanding Stunt Coordination. The six-DVD boxed set (replete with bonus features) retails for $64.99.
THE SAMARITAN (IFC Films): Samuel L Jackson’s back in action in co-writer/director David Weaver’s thriller as an ex-con drawn into a scam against mobster Tom Wilkinson by eager acolyte Luke Kirby. The DVD retails for $24.98, the Blu-ray for $29.98. Rated R.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: TEAM OF THE ’80S (NFL Films/Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment): A self-explanatory sports documentary ($19.97 retail) that chronicles a remarkable decade in the 49ers’ history under coach Bill Walsh, during which the team won four Super Bowls.
SINNERS AND SAINTS (Anchor Bay Entertainment): Good action sequences in otherwise routine shoot-’em-up, with Johnny Strong (also the film’s composer) as a New Orleans cop who uncovers big trouble while investigating an unsolved homicide. Lots of familiar folk on hand: Tom Berenger, Sean Patrick Flanery, Costas and Louis Mandylor, Jolene Blalock, Clifford “Method Man” Smith, Kim Coates, Kevin Phillips and Jurgen Prochnow. Rated R.
TEKKEN (Manga Entertainment/Anchor Bay Entertainment): Director Dwight Little and screenwriter Alan McElroy (of Halloween 4 fame) unsuccessfully reteam for this pretentious, empty-headed nonsense set against the backdrop of a martial-arts tournament as overseen by the totalitarian title corporation in the year 2039. John Foo plays the hero, with Cary Hiroyugi-Tagawa, Luke Goss, Kelly Overton, Tamlyn Tomita, Gary Daniels and real-life martial-artists trying to keep straight faces. There has never been a good movie based on a video game. This is yet another case in point. Rated R.
THE VICTIM (Anchor Bay Entertainment): Michael Biehn (see interview, page 45) wrote, directed and stars in this gritty thriller starring real-life wife/ producer Jennifer Blanc-Biehn as a smalltown stripper who seeks help from a rural recluse (Biehn) after witnessing a murder committed by two cops (Ryan Honey and Denny Kirkwood), who are now bent on silencing her. Taut performances and Jeehun Hwang’s score give heft to standard grindhouse fare. Rated R.
MARK BURGER can be heard Friday mornings on the “Two Guys Named Chris” radio show on Rock-92. © 2012, Mark Burger.