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What to Watch: Nov. 17-23, 2013

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CHICAGO – What to Watch is back! Miss us? Every week, we roll out 5-10 of the latest films and TV shows to be released on DVD, Blu-ray, and various streaming services. This week’s highlights include a few classics, a cult hit, a couple of recent comedies, and a family flick. In the order we’d advise buying or renting them…

The Vivien Leigh Anniversary Collection
The Vivien Leigh Anniversary Collection
Photo credit: Cohen Media Group

“The Vivien Leigh Anniversary Collection”

Another WTW, another Cohen Media Group release. Seriously, the good folks at Cohen have been doing an amazing job of finding relatively obscure classics and recent foreign films and polishing them like they’re beloved worldwide. They’re rivaling Criterion and Scream Factory as studios for which every release truly matters. Their latest is a collection of four early films from the legendary Vivien Leigh, an actress best-known for “Gone with the Wind” and a true Hollywood icon. When you think of classic actresses, she’s one of the first faces to come to mind. One hopes that Cohen does more of these classic movie collections.

Synopsis:
4 classic Vivien Leigh films made prior to her legendary performance as Scarlet O’Hara on Gone With The Wind.

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the birth of screen legend Vivien Leigh, Cohen Film Collection, in collaboration with the British Film Institute, has created new 2K restorations of her most sparkling British films.

Films Include:
Fire Over England
Storm In A Teacup
Dark Journey
St. Martin’s Lane

Special Features:
o Featurette With Vivien Leigh Biographer Anne Edwards
o New Essay By Vivien Leigh Biographer Kendra Bean
o Original Theatrical Trailers

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Streaming

Maniac Cop 2
Maniac Cop 2
Photo credit: Blue Underground

“Maniac Cop 2”

From Vivien Leigh to Robert Davi — you have to love the variety this week. Blue Underground is another small studio making great Blu-ray releases that you really should know more about. They released both “Maniac Cop 2” and “Maniac Cop 3” this week on Blu-ray. It’s impossible for me to sell someone unfamiliar with these films on the concept so let me just say that if you’re a fan of “Maniac Cop,” you’ll be happy.

Synopsis:
The Maniac Cop is back from the dead and stalking the streets of New York once more. Officer Matt Cordell was once a hero, but after being framed by corrupt superiors and brutally assaulted in prison, he sets out on a macabre mission of vengeance, teaming up with a vicious serial killer to track down those that wronged him and make them pay… with their lives!

Robert Davi (License To Kill), Claudia Christian (The Hidden), Michael Lerner (Barton Fink), Laurene Landon (Hundra), Leo Rossi (Halloween II), Robert Z’Dar (Tango & Cash), Charles Napier (The Silence Of The Lambs), and Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead) star in this chilling, action-packed sequel written by Larry Cohen (It’s Alive) and directed by William Lustig (Maniac). Featuring a brand-new 4K High Definition transfer from the original camera negative, this definitive presentation of Maniac Cop 2 comes packed with exclusive Extras!

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary With Director William Lustig and Filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn
o Back On The Beat: The Making Of Maniac Cop 2
o Cinefamily Q&A With Director William Lustig
o Theatrical Trailers
o Poster & Still Gallery
o Deleted Scene
o Isolated Music Track

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Amazon Instant Streaming, Vudu, iTunes

“Maniac Cop 3”

Synopsis:
When Officer Kate Sullivan storms a hostage situation, the whole incident is captured on tape by an unscrupulous media crew who edit the footage to show Kate killing a helpless victim. Now in a coma, Kate’s only hope is Detective Sean McKinney, who desperately tries to clear her name. But unbeknownst to him, “Maniac Cop” Matt Cordell takes it upon himself to exact revenge upon those responsible for smearing her name.

Returning stars Robert Davi (Profiler) and Robert Z’Dar (Beastmaster 2) are joined by Paul Gleason (Die Hard), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Julius Harris (Super Fly), Doug Savant (Melrose Place), and Robert Forster (Jackie Brown) in this thrilling third entry from Maniac Cop creator Larry Cohen (God Told Me To). Featuring a brand-new 4K High Definition transfer from the original uncensored negative, this definitive presentation of Maniac Cop 3: Badge Of Silence comes packed with exclusive Extras!

Special Features:
o Wrong Arm Of The Law: The Making Of Maniac Cop 3
o Deleted and Extended Scenes
o Theatrical Trailer
o Poster & Still Gallery
o Original Synopsis

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Amazon Instant Streaming, Vudu

Treme: The Complete Third Season
Treme: The Complete Third Season
Photo credit: HBO

“Treme: The Complete Third Season”

I wish I liked “Treme” more. It’s a show that I respect thoroughly. It’s incredibly well-made, smart, and beautifully shot. The performances are great throughout and I have a feeling that I’ll go back when it’s all donw — after the soon-to-air final season — and be able to appreciate it more as a four-season work of art. Until then, pick this up, put it aside, and prepare to experience the whole thing when the fourth season becomes available on HBO Go in the very near future.

Synopsis:
First, the people came back. Then, the crime. Now, more than two years after the near death of a great city, the money is starting to arrive. For the people of New Orleans, even the promises of redevelopment come with strings attached, and every dollar that shows up carries with it new dynamics and new risks. Those who know and love the Crescent City must find their way back to what matters in the life of their city. Little of what they can bring to bear yields a quick result, and nothing about New Orleans works as it should. Nothing is easy, In the end, their only weapons are community. And culture.

Special Features:
o Down In The Treme: A Look At The Music And Culture Of New Orleans
o The Music Of Treme
o Behind Treme: Chef Dinner
o Behind Treme: Neville Brothers
o Behind Treme: David Simon
o Audio Commentaries
o Music Commentaries

Where to Watch: HBO Go, Blu-ray, DVD, Amazon Instant Streaming, Vudu, iTunes

The To Do List
The To Do List
Photo credit: Sony

“The To Do List”

I love the cast here. There are SO MANY talented and funny people in “The To Do List” that one wishes the final product was a bit smarter and funnier itself. It reminds one of better films too often to stand out, even with so many talented people involved. Still, there are a few moments that might warrant a rental on a snowy evening. And I want everyone involved to get a LOT more regular work. See it to support future, better movies.

Synopsis:
Class of ‘93 valedictorian Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza) wants to get “educated” before she goes off to college, so she assembles a “to do list” of all the sexual activities she missed out on in high school. Quickly realizing that she’s way out of her league, Brandy solicits her best friends, older sister (Rachel Bilson) and burnt-out boss (Bill Hader) for their help and advice. As Brandy crams for her sexual finals, a supporting cast of horny misfits - an orally-challenged classmate (Donald Glover), a grunge-singing doofus (Andy Samberg) - eagerly offer their assistance and shocking mayhem ensues…

Special Features:
o The Re-Do List: Gag Reel
o Maggie Carey: Directing Her To Do List
o Dirty Mouth: Naughty Word Montage
o Deleted & Extended Scenes
o Commentary With Bill Hader And Director Maggie Carey

Where to Watch: Blu-ray, DVD, Amazon Instant Streaming, Vudu, iTunes

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