"RoboCop" - Limited Edition Blu-ray - (Arrow Video)
It's been more than 30-years since the phrase "Part man, part machine, all cop" entered the popular lexicon. Pure fantasy when the film was made, today we are maybe not so far off from actually having robot/human hybrid cops on the streets of our cities. The action-filled plot of "RoboCop" follows Detroit policeman Alex Murphy, played by Peter Weller, as he gets gunned down and ultimately resurrected as a cybernetic mix of spare human parts (!) and steel. As his human memories return to him, Murphy/RoboCop seeks vengeance on those that killed him. Among all the thrills, "RoboCop" often displays a sense of humor too. Now fans can revisit this classic film in two versions as this limited edition set contains the Director's Cut and the Theatrical Cut. Plus there are lots of other goodies included; a "Protected by RoboCop" sticker, a double-sided fold-out poster, six postcard-sized cards featuring stills from the film and a deluxe 79-page booklet with film info, essays and lots of photos. And on the discs themselves viewers will find a 2012 Q&A with the filmmakers, four deleted scenes, image galleries, theatrical trailers and TV spots and a lot of other bonus material, including at least one Easter egg.
"The Beatles: Made on Merseyside" - DVD - (Film Movement)
Yes there is still stuff about the Beatles that you don't know. This documentary film tracks the Fab Four (plus Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe) in their Liverpool days and their time in Hamburg, Germany; in other words the era that laid the foundation for the explosion of Beatlemania. Using both vintage and modern day film clips and stills, the story is told through narration and commentary from Best, Frank Allen of the Searchers, Len Gary of pre-Beatles group the Quarrymen, tour manager Tony Bramwell and many others. The film's Liverpool coverage focuses primarily on John Lennon, perhaps because as a troublemaker blamed for burning down a youth club, his story is the most vibrant and the one people remember. And it is these personal recollections, particularly the ones from Best, which make this film stand out from all the others.
"Scared of Revolution" - DVD - (Film Movement)
This documentary film is a profile of Umar Bin Hassan, a member of the late 1960s-era group of performance artists known as The Last Poets, and is adapted from the book "The Last Poets" by Christine Otten. Umar was responsible for some of the most powerful spoken word of the time, including the stirring "Ni****s Are Scared of Revolution," a call to action that was not answered. The film takes an intimate and very candid look at Hassan's life; he had an abusive father and in turn failed to provide his own kids a father figure, and battled a crack addiction. Professionally the film notes that Hassan paved the way for acts like Gil Scott-Heron and early rap artists (some call him the "Godfather of Rap). Triumphant in the end, Hassan finds control of his life and strives to be a good father and grandfather. The presentation here is excellent; the significant story plays out through impressive direction (by Daniel Krikke) and editing (by Tim Schijf) and makes for riveting viewing.
"I'll Never Forget You: The Last 72 Hours of Lynyrd Skynyrd" - DVD - (MVD Visual)
The story of the tragic 1977 plane crash involving Lynyrd Skynyrd that took six lives including band lead singer Ronnie Van Zant is well-known. This film takes a different angle on the story as crash survivors Gene Odom, Leslie Hawkins and Craig Reed relate the events leading up to the crash, the crash itself and the immediate aftermath. Odom was the band's security guard and Van Zant's fishing buddy (Ronnie famously mentions his fondness for fishing in the song "Don"t Ask Me No Questions") and he tried to keep the plane from flying that fateful day. The plane had serious problems the day before and Odom argued vehemently with the pilot that it needed to be fixed before the band flew in it again. The pilot overruled him and the rest is history; Odom says he holds that day against himself to this day, thinking that there must have been some way to stop the flight. Hawkins was one of the background singers known as the Honkettes and due to mishandling of band affairs she was not covered by any kind of insurance policy, and to this day has not received one penny in recompense for her injuries and medical treatment, and with minor exceptions she has not been able to earn a living singing. Reed was the band's guitar tech and he too had problems with subsequent employment, getting jobs with Journey and Foreigner but performing his duties while still in shock. All three detail the crash, and additional commentary comes from some of the emergency personnel who first reached the crash site. Perhaps the most touching account of the plane crash ever.
"Flowers in the Attic" - Special Edition Blu-ray - (Arrow Video)
This film was remade about five years ago and shown on the Lifetime Channel, but this is the original movie from 1987. The story follows how a mother and her four children (boy and girl teenager, young boy and girl twins) become penniless after the death of the father and go to live with the mother's parents in their huge mansion. It's not that simple though; mom is hoping grandpa will die and leave the family with a big inheritance, and in the meantime, separated from the kids who are locked in the attic, she finagles her way into an engagement, also in the hopes of getting rich. The reason the kids are confined to the attic, fed and clothed and nothing more, is because the house matriarch thinks they were born out of a sinful relationship. Played with relish by Academy Award winner Louise Fletcher, the matriarch is so nasty that viewers will hate the character long before the kids scream their hatred at her. So lots going on, not the least of which are the trials and tribulations of the kids, who attempt an escape at one point. Eventually the youngest boy dies, and the other kids ultimately figure out it was not of natural causes. Lots of fun ensues for the viewer as this thriller works its way to a conclusion. The studio vetoed the film's original ending but fans will find it included in the bonus material, which also includes numerous interviews and other goodies.
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