The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Third Season
Manufacturer: Paramount Brand: Paramount Model: 097360473049
Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts. The characters close to everyone's heart live the good life in simpler times with Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee and all the other memorable residents of Mayberry. Includes 32 episodes on 5 DVDs. 1962-63/b&w/13 hrs., 2 min/NR/fullscreen. The Andy Griffith Show hit its stride during its third season (1962-63), admirably restored in this five-disc, 32-episode boxed set. Andy Griffith perfects his levelheaded Sheriff Andy Taylor; Don Knotts is unsurpassed as the comically neurotic Barney Fife; and Ron Howard continues his legendary run as earnest Opie. The season opens with the endearing episode "Mr. McBeevee," Opie's friend in the trees who Andy believes to be a figment of his son's imagination. From there, every disc contains renowned classics, such as "Floyd, the Gay Deceiver" starring the dashing Howard McNear; "Andy and Opie, Bachelors" offering some of the season's greatest quips; and "The Darlings Are Coming," that crazy clan of mountain musicians including the overtly flirtatious Charlene. The season is acclaimed for introducing several new, recurring characters into the cast including Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors), "Miss Peggy" (Joanna Moore), and Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut). Except for two episodes missing closing epilogue scenes (which Paramount discloses), the set contains 13 hours of full-length, uncut, black-and-white magic. Also included is the originally aired "Fishin' Hole" theme music throughout the collection, as well as more than two dozen "Sponsor Spots," vintage commercial advertisements featuring the show's cast. Don't miss the season highlight, "Man In A Hurry," a touching story where Malcolm Tucker delivers the now-famous summation of Mayberry, "Outrageous… a whole town is standing still because two old women's feet fall asleep," precisely the reason why this beloved sitcom remains a timeless treasure. (All ages) --Lynn Gibson
Mysterious Skin (Deluxe Unrated Director's Edition)
Manufacturer: Strand Releasing Model: 4963132
Two young men are haunted by similar events from their past, though the effects manifest themselves in very different ways, in this powerful drama from independent filmmaker Gregg Araki. In the summer of 1981, Brian (George Webster) and Neil (Chase Ellison) are both eight years old and playing on the same little league baseball team in a small Kansas town. One day, after a game, Brian blacks out after getting caught in a rainstorm, and five hours later he finds himself sitting in his basement with his nose bleeding and no memory of what happened to him. Over the years, the event -- particularly the missing five hours -- weigh heavily on his mind, and he becomes convinced that he was kidnapped by space aliens. Teenaged Brian (now played by Brady Corbet) becomes friends with Avalyn Friesen (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a woman who claims to have been abducted by aliens on several occasions, and she urges him to look to his dreams for patterns that might suggest what happened to him. Meanwhile, during the same summer, Neil developed a powerful crush on their little league coach (Bill Sage), who appeared to have also taken a shine to Neil. Neil's mother (Elisabeth Shue), seeing nothing wrong with their friendship, lets the coach look after Neil while she's off on one of her many dates, and before long Neil begins sexually experimenting with the older man. Neil's introduction to sex inspires him to become a hustler when he grows into his teens, and after burning his bridges in his hometown, Neil (now played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his close friend Wendy (Michelle Trachtenberg) move to New York, where he continues to cruise for a living but under significantly more risky circumstances. One day, Neil is contacted by Brian, who after seeing one of their team photos from their days in little league suspects he might have some clues as to what happened to him in 1981. Mysterious Skin was based on the novel by Scott Heim, and marked the first time Gregg Araki made a film that did not originate with one of his own screenplays. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Shortbus (Unrated Edition)
Manufacturer: Velocity / Thinkfilm Brand: THINKFILM LLC
From the director of ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ comes SHORTBUS, an exploration into the lives of several characters living in present-day New York as they navigate the comic and tragic intersections between love and sex. Male and female, straight and gay, the characters find one another – and eventually find themselves – when they all converge at a weekly underground salon called "Shortbus," a mad world of art, music, politics, and polysexual carnality. One of the true sensations of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, presents sex and sexuality as never before seen in mainstream entertainment, and promises to be one of the most talked-about films for months – and years – to come. In his aim to make an honest film about sex, John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) has taken a somewhat documentary approach to Shortbus, a film describing various New Yorkers' sexual pathos. Framed by shots roving a homemade diorama of the city, Shortbus is comprised of vignettes featuring actors who helped craft this story of people's disconnect in sexual endeavors. Jamie (PJ DeBoy) and James (Paul Dawson), a gay couple experiencing a lull in their relationship, visit Sophia (Sook-Yin Lee), a sex therapist whose inability to orgasm results in her clients inviting her to a sex club after which the film is titled. Sophia's husband, Rob (Raphael Barker), is also willing to experiment, so the two independently embark on adventures in self-pleasure. Dominatrix Severin (Lindsay Beamish) plays a crucial role in Sophia and Rob's lives, as her search for real humanity overlaps with their desire for passion. As each character's plot complicates, the viewer sees a similar melancholy bulldozing its way into these seemingly disparate lives. The depression is repeatedly used in comedic scenes, such as when James is asked on a date while still hospitalized for his attempted suicide. Yo La Tengo's score, which includes Animal Collective among others, lends this film a graceful ambience. Unlike porn, Shortbus has a resonance that encourages the viewer to consider one's own sex life as an important aspect of happiness. --Trinie Dalton
The L Word: Season 4
Manufacturer: Showtime Ent. / Paramount Brand: Paramount Model: STHE851594DVD
THE L WORD Season 4 picks up with the women wrestling with issues close to their hearts. As with previous seasons, old demons rear their ugly heads and a host of new characters are brought into their fold, offering them access to a broader community with diverse issues. THE L WORD® stars Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Laurel Holloman, Mia Kirshner, Katherine Moennig, Dallas Roberts, Daniela Sea, Rachel Shelley, and Pam Grier. Newest additions to the cast include Cybill Shepherd, Marlee Matlin, Janina Gavankar and Rose Rollins. Special guest stars are Rosanna Arquette, Eric Roberts, Bruce Davison, Kristanna Loken and Jane Lynch. This season, the war in Iraq becomes an integral part of Alice's (Hailey) life as she struggles to move on after the death of Dana; Helena (Shelley) tries to find financial independence and come to terms with leaving behind a world of privilege; Phyllis Kroll (Shepherd) -- who takes the courageous plunge late in life to come out of the closet -- risking everything that has defined her life up to now; and, Bette (Beals) has to deal with Jodi Lerner (Matlin), a woman who confronts her head-on about her Type-A personality. If the third season was marked by transitions, The L Word's fourth concerns growing up--or trying to, at any rate. Shane (Katherine Moennig) becomes her brother Shay's guardian, Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman) stop fighting over their daughter Angelica, and Bette's new boss, Phyllis (a very game Cybill Shepherd), decides it's time to embrace her true nature. So, after 25 years of marriage (Bruce Davison plays her husband), Chancellor Kroll comes out of the closet--and sets her sights on Alice (Leisha Hailey). For all the inclusiveness, Max (Daniela Sea), still remains on the margins. Dumped by Jenny (Mia Kirshner) the year before, Max continues to share her apartment while acclimating to life as a man. For those who felt season three was too dark, four offers a welcome corrective. There's still plenty of angst--Jenny's memoir meets with a few negative notices (Heather Matarazzo's journalist pens the harshest critique) and Helena (Rachel Shelley) learns to live without Mommy's money--but there are plenty of moving moments to compensate (most revolving around Shane and Shay). New additions also arrive to shake things up, like Marlee Matlin as an artist who helps Bette to broaden her horizons, Kristanna Loken as a single mother with a yen for Shane, and Rose Rollins as an Iraq War veteran with whom Alice has a tryst (leading to a well intentioned, if heavy-handed message about how even liberals should support the troops). As in seasons past, the directorial line-up impresses as much as the acting talent, and includes Oscar winner Marleen Gorris (Antonia's Line) and playwright Moisés Kaufman (The Laramie Project). Since creator Ilene Chaiken makes most special features, like deleted scenes, available online, this set offers few extras, other than biographies, a photo gallery, and episodes of...
Queer as Folk - The Complete Series
Manufacturer: Paramount SHO Brand: Paramount Model: STHE130274DVD
Season OneThey're here, they're queer, and they make Sex and the City look like a demure tea party. Showtime's quintessentially American Queer As Folk--based on the British miniseries--pours on copious amounts of hot and steamy sex. This slick (and slickly entertaining) series shares the same basic concept as its British counterpart--centering on a group of gay friends living in a primarily industrial city--but after that, all bets are off. Whereas the British version focused on the gritty, realistic drama of its characters, the American QAF is a glossy, fun soap opera that occasionally tackles big issues but never lets you forget that life at times can be a party, and you shouldn't be one of those poor suckers starving to death. A good part of the show's charm lies in its cast--boy-next-door Michael (Hal Sparks), ruthlessly seductive rake Brian (Gale Harold), out-and-proud Emmett (Peter Paige), wallflower Ted (Scott Lowell), and nubile teen Justin (Randy Harrison)--who grew from standard gay prototypes to intriguing characters by the first season's end. And while some subplots didn't work (such as Emmett's farfetched foray into gay-conversion therapy), others were quietly affecting, including Brian's coping with his father's death. Some may object to the show's relentless fixation on sex (and gay men--there are just two lesbian characters), but this is a series that in its own polished way is both engrossingly fun and truly groundbreaking. It's liberating to watch an American TV series in which the straight world is only peripheral. Let's hear it for the boys! --Mark EnglehartSeason TwoThey're still out and proud, and in their second season the boys (and girls) of Queer as Folk continued to break ground as the most gay-friendly show on television (sorry, Will and Grace). Some plot lines were a little over the top, others truly heartfelt, but they were never less than entertaining, even during their All My Children moments. Season two opened in the aftermath of the gay-bashing of Justin (Randy Harrison), the young artist who wondered if he'd ever be able to paint or draw again, and went on to face a variety of issues and plotlines as diverse as its characters. Some were timely (Michael negotiating a relationship with new HIV-positive boyfriend Ben), some romantic (lesbians Lindsay and Melanie tying the knot), some new to the show (Emmett embarks on a relationship with a--gasp!--older gentleman), and some, well, far-fetched (how many of you had to wrestle, like Ted did, with starting your own pornographic web site?). While the writing tended to flail about a bit, thankfully coalescing by the season's end, the show continued to be anchored by stellar actors, especially Peter Paige's Emmett, who grew the most during the second season; Michelle Clunie's Melanie, the alternately wry and sweet lesbian who became the show's secret weapon; and, as always, Gale Harold's Brian, the lothario with a heart of tarnished gol...
The L Word: Season 5
Manufacturer: Showtime Ent. Brand: Paramount Model: 4954821
Unresolved romances and a long-simmering film project finally bear fruit in the fifth season of THE L WORDr. Dreams come true and new life paths are forged for many of the series' characters this year, but not without the The L Word's trademark provocative storylines, sizzling sexuality, and heart-rending emotion. In a clever move, the producers of The L Word use season five to revisit the origins of their own creation. After Jenny (Mia Kirshner) sets out to direct the silver-screen edition of her novel, Lez Girls, she enters a parallel world populated by actors playing thinly-veiled versions of the central cast (in a typical Jenny move, she sleeps with the star who portrays "Jesse"). This post-modern plotline brings newcomers up to speed, while offering early-adapters new perspectives on the past. Naturally, the shoot doesn't go smoothly. When the increasingly self-absorbed Jenny hires adoring fan Adele (ER's Malaya Rivera Drew) as her assistant, events take on All About Eve overtones. Since Jenny is turning her life into a movie, it only makes sense for the two to bleed into each other. In other developments, Tina (Laurel Holloman) and Bette (Jennifer Beals) consider reconciliation, Helena (Rachel Shelley) does time in prison, Alice (Leisha Hailey) takes her penchant for gossip too far, Tasha (Rose Rollins) fights to stay in the military, and Shane (Katherine Moennig), a dead ringer for Warren Beatty in Shampoo, rejoins the ranks of the single, only to fall for straight girl Molly (Cybill Shepherd's daughter, Clementine Ford). In a more melodramatic, but equally entertaining move, Dawn Denbo (Elizabeth Keener), proprietor of new hotspot SheBar makes life hell for the Planet, but Kit (Pam Grier) and her loyal clientele refuse to go down without a fight--even if they don't offer "Lesbian Turkish Oil Wrestling." Aside from the fact that Max (Daniela Sea) continues to get short shrift, The L Word's fifth year proves the show has more than a little lusty and gutsy life left in it, and was renewed for a sixth season. Extras include cast biographies and episodes of Showtime's Dexter, Californication, and This American Life. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
The L Word: Final Season
Manufacturer: Showtime / Paramount Brand: Paramount Model: 8928058
Unresolved romances and a long-simmering film project finally bear fruit in the sixth season of The L Word®. Dreams come true and new life paths are forged for many of the series' characters this year, but not without the The L Word's trademark provocative storylines, sizzling sexuality, and heart-rending emotion.
Manufacturer: Wolfe Video Brand: Wolfe Video
From Nicole Conn, director of the lesbian classic CLAIRE OF THE MOON. Elegant and refined Elena (Necar Zadegan, TV s 24, The Event) is a devoted wife to her pastor husband, mother to her teenage son, and daughter to her traditional Indian family. When she meets lesbian writer Peyton (ravishingly beautiful Traci Dinwiddie, TV s Supernatural ) Elena is confronted with intense, unexpected feelings for a woman and their relationship evolves into a passionate romance. Charming, funny and poignant as well as smoldering and sensual!
From Beginning To End
Manufacturer: TLA Releasing
There are not a lot of topics involving consenting adults that can really shock these days but this searing romantic drama about two brothers who love incestuously may well be one of them! Set in a sun-burnished Brazil, two boys, Francisco and his younger half-brother (same mother, different fathers) Thomás, are being raised in upper class comfort in Rio by their doting mother. Five years apart, the boys are best friends and unusually close to each other so much so that their intimacy brings vocal concerns from relatives that maybe they are too close. But the parents reluctantly brush away the concerns. Fast-forward several years with Francisco and Thomás now strikingly handsome, bronzed young men and their childhood intensity has evolved into a torrid sexual relationship. But when Thomás is offered a chance to train for the Brazilian swim team in Russia for a long period of time, the proposed separation brings fears that their love is threatened. Spectacularly shot amidst the mountains, beaches and grand estates of Brazil, this intense drama does not just live on the controversial subject matter but rather is a strikingly evocative romance of two men fighting against societal conventions
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