This week, we begin in Belgium:
Rated R, 129 minutes.
Available Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray.
Oscar-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, this dark Belgian entry tells a gripping tale, while also exploring some nasty undercurrents of human behavior. Bullhead also touches on how different natives of some areas of Belgium hold gross prejudices and antipathy toward Belgians of other areas.
Small-time cattleman Jacky (Matthias Schoenaerts) traffics in illegal hormones and growth substances, selling to others and also beefing up his own herd. But the muscular, hot-tempered Jacky also dips into the contraband himself because of a narrative-driving childhood trauma, seen in flashback.
When a law enforcement agent ends up dead, a chain of connected violence erupts — car thefts, shootings, beatings and enough other malfeasance to keep first-time director Michael Roskam’s surprisingly polished production barreling ahead.
The DVD, in all formats, includes a 22-minute “making of” featurette, a 12-minute interview with Roskam, a seven-minute interview with Schoenaerts, and Roskam’s 25-minute short film The One Thing to Do from 2005, starring Schoenaerts. Plus, a 16-page booklet on the film.
Monogram Cowboy Collection, Volume 3 The manufactured-on-demand Warner Archive Collection returns to its expansive vault for the latest release of Westerns from the long-defunct film studio Monogram Pictures. This set includes The Ghost Rider, The Stranger From Pecos, Six Gun Gospel, Outlaws of Stampede Pass, Range Law, The Navajo Trail, Flame of the West, Shadows on the Range and Law of the Panhandle.
These Westerns were usually seen on the second half of double features, and they now make for brisk home viewing. All nine films in the collection were made between 1944 and 1955 or so and star Monogram’s most popular cowboy, former University of Alabama all-American football player Johnny Mack Brown.
Monogram routinely cranked out these nuggets, with their tightly constructed scripts, crisp photography, and a rotating cast of actors who seem to pop up on schedule. In most of these films, Brown and his co-star Raymond Hatton play the same characters, undercover U.S. Marshals sent into a town to clean out the bad guys.
These nine films, in one package on three discs, are not rated and run around an hour, except for Flame of the West (71 minutes), in which Brown takes the uncharacteristic role of a small-town doctor called upon to take over when the sheriff dies in a fight against the local outlaws.
The Decoy Bride (**1/2) This lightweight but ingratiatingly likable comedy takes place mostly in Scotland on desolate Hegg Island in the Outer Hebrides.
Kelly Macdonald plays the title character, Katie, a local woman who has had no success with men. Into her small community comes a well-known film star, Lara (Alice Eve), about to wed her celebrity-novelist fiance James (David Tennant). They aim and hope for a private ceremony at a local castle.
When the press finds out, however, Lara’s publicist (Michael Urie) engineers a fake wedding, hiring Katie to adorn multiple veils to pretend she is Lara. It’s all nonsense geared to land James and Katie together for a while so they can take their inevitable romantic turn. Innocuous but with stunning landscapes and harmless humor.
Not rated, 89 minutes. The DVD includes eight interviews with cast and crew, a 13-minute “behind-the-scenes” featurette, one deleted scene, and a brief look at some of the film’s special effects.
Radio Rebel (**1/2) Popular teen star Debby Ryan plays Seattle’s hottest DJ, Tara Adams, in this story about how the youngster blossoms only when behind the microphone. Once there, she settles into her other persona and becomes the Rebel. Meanwhile, at school, mean queen Stacy (Merritt Patterson) thwarts Tara’s budding romance with Gavin (Adam DiMarco).
Not rated, 89 minutes.
Green Eggs and Ham and Other Stories The animated version of Dr. Seuss’ beloved classic, first seen on CBS-TV in 1973, returns along with separate segments on Seuss’ The Sneetches and The Zax. Some of the voices appearing are once-familiar talents Allan Sherman, Hans Conreid and puppeteer Paul Winchell (who is also credited with inventing one of the first prototypes for an artificial heart).
Not rated, 25 minutes. The DVD comes in Blu-ray and various combo-packs.
And, finally, from our week’s TV offerings:
Titanic at 100: Mystery Solved To mark the centennial of the sinking of the ship Titanic, cable channel History joined Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and RMS Titanic Inc. to undertake an extensive exploration of the wreckage along with its surrounding area. While also using abundant CGI technology to illustrate, the explorers and their underwater cameras investigate various theories to render an informative piece of entertainment.
Not rated, 96 minutes.
Pawn Stars: Volume Four This strangely compelling reality series stars the three male generations of the Harrison family, owners and operators of Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, located for your pawning convenience on the fringes of Las Vegas. The season of 16 episodes, on two discs, features such highlights as the Harrisons bartering for a race car, Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, and a suit once belonging to Colonel Sanders.
Not rated, 352 minutes.
Gene Simmons Family Jewels: Season 6, Volumes 1 and 2 In the latest season of this much-watched A&E reality series starring the former KISS frontman and his longtime girlfriend, Shannon Tweed, the duo travels to Israel, visits U.S. troops and even makes it down to Belize. Plus, marriage might even be in the offing.
Rated TV-PG-L. Volume 1: nine episodes, 572 minutes; also includes unreleased episodes from the fifth season. Volume 2: eight episodes, including the two-hour wedding special, 374 minutes; also includes additional unaired scenes.
Also available Tuesday on DVD: Mirror Mirror, 21 Jump Street, Wrath of the Titans.