This week, we begin with Mom:
Rated R, 112 minutes.
Available Tuesday on Blu-ray and DVD.
Three brothers have mommy issues in the Blu-ray debut of this deliciously perverse 2010 slasher remake loosely based on the 1980 original of the same name.
Rebecca De Mornay plays mother to three sons who have just robbed an Omaha bank. When things go wrong, they flee to what they believe is still her house. But she was recently evicted, and the new owners are at home having a party when the brothers arrive.
A hostage situation develops, and before long, mom and the boys’ sister arrive to find out where the new owners hid the money the boys had been sending home. And as everyone knows, it’s not nice to lie to mother.
Director Darren Lynn Bousman smoothly escalates the blood and violence. Extras on the discs include commentary.
Bright Road (**1/2), Bewitched (**1/2) Two notable films arrive this week from On Demand Warner Archives.
Harry Belafonte made his acting debut in Bright Road (1953, 68 minutes) playing an elementary school principal in a small Southern town. Legendary Dorothy Dandridge stars as a new teacher who helps a problem student blossom.
Based on a well-known short story, Bright Road touched on race relations in a subtle yet groundbreaking way for 1953, and it was also one of the few times a major studio (MGM) released a film with a virtually all African-American cast.
Bewitched (1945, 65 minutes) — not connected to the popular television show — marked one of the first cinematic attempts to examine the then-novel concept of multiple personalities.
Phyllis Thaxter plays Joan, an engaged woman who’s a model citizen. Inside her, however, rages an evil persona who forces her into committing murder. Her impending execution allows a psychiatrist (Edmund Gwenn) to draw out her other sides.
Arch Oboler directed and wrote the screenplay, based on his radio play.
The Front Line (***) This polished South Korean film resembles many 1940s and 1950s World War II American films, as it is set on the border between North and South Korea in the final days of their conflict.
Armies for both sides grumble, express fear and undergo the same universal soul-searching. They fight to recapture an area that has already changed hands often. But commanders-in-charge know the war’s end is nearing and borders will be drawn depending on who then holds the territory. Some recognizable types appear: the crusty sergeant, the unstable soldier, the cold-blooded sniper.
Not rated, 132 minutes. The DVD comes in all formats and various combo packs.
The Bling Ring (***), Girl Fight (***1/2) The Lifetime network offers these two powerful unrated, fact-based dramas.
In The Bling Ring (88 minutes), Zack (Austin Butler), a Los Angeles high school student, transfers to a new school, where he makes friends with a group of females. The leader, mean girl Natalie (Yin Chang), proves to be an unrepentant sociopath, as she coerces her tight group into a series of burglaries of celebrities’ homes.
Zack shows remorse, while Natalie revels in her newly found booty from the homes of such notables as Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. Meanwhile, the police zero in, slowly bringing a halt to this impending disaster.
Girl Fight (88 minutes) examines the consequences of bullying with its story of Haley (Jodelle Ferland), a bright but not popular student. Eventually, she believes she has made friends with a group of popular girls she had previously ridiculed. When they discover some snide comments Haley had made about them online, they brutally take it out on her.
One girl makes a video of the event, which eventually lands online and in the hands of Haley’s parents (Anne Heche and James Tupper). They back their daughter but want to make sure the girls are prosecuted, leading to a media onslaught as well as community conflict.
She’s Not Our Sister (**1/2) Playwright Johnnie Johnson wrote and Snoop Robinson directed this music-filled family comedy about three sisters who unite when their father dies. But they come together only when they learn that dear ol’ Pop had a secret family, and that they have a half-sister.
What makes it even worse is that it looks like the interloper may weasel herself into a share of the father’s estate. With Kellita Smith, Drew Sidora, Tony Grant, Azur-De and Christian Keyes.
Not rated, 90 minutes. Extras include a photo gallery.
With these next two new releases, it looks like it will be — as Stephen Sondheim wrote — comedy tonight.
Ralphie May: Too Big to Ignore Ralphie May stars in this performance recorded for a Comedy Central special. The popular comic delivers his irreverent takes on race relations, his dysfunctional family and politics. The DVD also includes a “behind-the-scenes” featurette. Not rated, 108 minutes.
Bobcat Goldthwait: You Don’t Look the Same Either Bobcat Goldthwait is the titular star in this original performance from Showtime in which he gleefully looks back on his eventful career, which has given him plenty of material. Not rated, 57 minutes.
Happiness Is Peanuts: Team Snoopy Charlie Brown and the world’s most famous beagle return in this sports-related collection, which includes the TV special Lucy Must Be Traded and an episode of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show that includes “The Pelicans,” “Great Pumpkin” and “Spike.” Not rated, 48 minutes.
Cold War (****) This excellent 1998 documentary now arrives for the first time on DVD. First seen on CNN, the Peabody Award-winning work examines in detail how the U.S. and the Soviet Union fell into and then extended their long-term detente.
In the 24 episodes, on six discs, documentarian Jeremy Isaacs presents not only fascinating extant footage but also some rarities, such as at the meetings of the Big Three at Yalta and in Tehran during World War II.
A luminous array of guests sit for interviews, including President George H.W. Bush, John Kenneth Galbraith, George Kennan, Jimmy Carter, Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev. Fidel Castro contributes and is also the subject of a separate interview. Kenneth Branagh narrates, and a distinguished cast helps supply the voice-overs.
Not rated, 1122 minutes.
Extras include the Castro interview and a 36-minute Oscar-nominated documentary, The Hoaxters.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: Chuck: The Complete Fifth Season, The Genesis Code, Last Breath, Playback, Underworld: Awakening and The Vow.