Something for (almost) Everyone
TV on DVD
The highs and lows (emphasis on highs) of the Emmy-winning Showtime series Nurse Jackie (Lionsgate) came to a devastating conclusion in the seventh and final season. In addition to lead character Jackie (Edie Falco) falling hard off the wagon, we got to attend the gay wedding of nurse Thor (Steve Wallem), as All Saints Hospital was being pulled out from under the staff by greedy condo developers. DVD + Digital special features include deleted scenes, audio commentaries by cast and crew, a gag reel and a trio of featurettes.
For a show about two straight women, 2 Broke Girls (WB) is one of the gayest shows on TV. That might have something to do with openly gay creator Michael Patrick King (Sex and the City). Seriously, just listen to some of the things that come out of the mouths of the titular “broke girls” Max (Kat Dennings) and Caroline(Beth Behrs), as well as supporting actress Jennifer Coolidge as the always inappropriate Sophie. DVD special features include unaired scenes and a gag reel.
I Am the Queen (Cinema Libre Studio), a doc produced and directed by Henrique Cirne Lima and Josué Pellot, is the story of Bianca, Julissa and Jolizza, in preparation for the Vida/Sida Cacia Pageant within the Puerto Rican community of Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, under the direction of trans mentor Ginger Valdez. DVD special features include deleted scenes and a photo gallery.
Winner of the Tribeca Film Festival audience award for documentary, the Puerto Rico-set Mala Mala (Strand), produced and directed by Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, focuses on trans activist Ivana, sex-change pioneer Soraya, sex-worker Sandy, and Samantha and Paxx, both of whom dealing with the necessary medical resources to complete their transition. DVD bonus features include the new short Sandy’s Pets and three photo galleries.
The digitally restored DVD of the 1987 lesbian classic She Must Be Seeing Things (First Run Features), stars Sheila Dabney as international lawyer Agatha and Lois Weaver as her lover Jo, a filmmaker. Written and directed by Sheila McLaughlin, the movie is about jealousy and sexual obsession and what the combination of those two factors can do to a relationship. Bonus materials include an interview with McLaughlin and the 1978 short film Inside Out.
Acclaimed lesbian filmmaker Monika Treut (My Father Is Coming, Virgin Machine and Gendernauts: A Journey Through Shifting) returns with the dramatic coming-of-age story Of Girls and Horses (Wolfe), in which rebellious teen Alex (Ceci Chuh) finds herself attracted to lesbian riding instructor Nina (Vanida Karun).
Keep Calm & Carrying On
The triple disc Blu-ray + DVD combo pack 50th anniversary edition of My Fair Lady (CBS/Paramount), the Oscar-winning movie adaptation of the beloved Lerner and Loewe musical starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison, and featuring cherished songs such as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On The Street Where You Live,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” and “Get Me To The Church On Time,” is every show tune lover’s dream come true. The wealth of special features include three theatrical featurettes, Cecil Beaton costume sketches, “More Loverly Than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Then & Now,” and much more.
Gemma Bovery (Music Box Films), on Blu-ray, is described as a modern-day take on Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, with Gemma Arterton as the title character. In the romantic comedy, in French and English with subtitles, Brits Gemma and husband Charlie (Jason Flemyng), take up residence in a Normandy farmhouse, in the same village where the famous novel was written. Bonus features include a pair of featurettes and a master class with director Anne Fontaine.
Music to Their Ears
The visual companion to the Kristin Chenoweth concert CD of the same name, Coming Home (Concord), the DVD contains all 15 songs on the album, including a pair of tunes from Wicked (“Popular” and “For Good”), as well as the diminutive diva’s renditions of tunes both show (“Bring Him Home,” “Maybe This Time,” “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”) and pop (“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough),” “I Will Always Love You,”), and includes bonus material such as a look behind the scenes and Chenoweth’s Father’s Day video.
The Mekons, “the most revolutionary group in the history of rock’n’roll” according to Lester Bangs, is the subject of Joe Angio’s documentary Revenge of the Mekons (Music Box Films). Following the band from its 1977 birth in the British punk rock scene to the present day, the doc includes interviews Fred Armisen, Jonathan Franzen and Mary Harron, as well as band members Sally Timms, Jon Langford and others. Bonus features include a live performance at Bell House in Brooklyn, a Mekons symposium at Columbia University, outtakes and additional interviews.
Ted 2 (Universal) re-teams New England knuckleheads writer/director Seth MacFarlane and actor Mark Wahlberg in the sequel to the popular and raunchy comedy about John (Wahlberg) and his trash-talking Teddy bear Ted (voiced by MacFarlane). This time out, John and Ted call on stoner lawyer Samantha (Amanda Seyfried) in their court battle against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Unrated Blu-ray+DVD+ Digital bonus features include gag reel, deleted scenes, a “giant opening dance number,” feature commentary and more.
Co-written and co-directed by Lola Bessis and Ruben Amar, Swim Little Fish Swim (Indie Pix)invites us into the crowded Chinatown apartment of nurse Mary (Brooke Bloom), her “overgrown adolescent” husband Leeward (Dustin Guy Defa) and their three year old daughter Rainbow (or Maggie, depending on whose talking to her), as they welcome housemate Lilas (Lola Bessis), and struggle to keep their heads above water in New York.
Docs for Days
“The Story of How A Kinky Rebellious Street Festival Captured The Heart of San Francisco,” Folsom Forever (Breaking Glass) is director Mike Skiff’s tribute to the “scrappy little” San Francisco neighborhood in the “heart of the gay male leather scene” began its 1984 transformation during the AIDS crisis and encroaching gentrification to become what it is today.
In case you (or anyone on your holiday gift list) didn’t get your Lego fill with the 2014 animated Lego Movie, Daniel Junge and Kief Davidson’s A Lego Brickumentary (Radius/Anchor Bay) should help with any unanswered questions about the Lego brand. Deleted scenes are the sole bonus feature on the DVD.
Released theatrically in 1985 (after being banned by PBS), Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines’ controversial doc Seventeen (Icarus Films), part of Peter Davis’ Middletown series, may look tame by today’s standards, but at the time, the insight it provided into the lives of high school teens was revelatory and shocking, and is still worth seeing now.
Not for the faint of heart, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s doc Meru (Music Box Films) takes viewers to new and terrifying heights, as Alpinists Conrad Anker, Renan Ozturk and Chin, attempt to climb Mount Meru’s Himalayan “shark fin,” more than 20,000 feet above the Ganges River.
The late Swiss surrealist artist H. R. Giger, who has infiltrated the nightmares of many fans of science fiction (the Alien series) and rock and roll (Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery album cover) is the subject of Belind Sallin’s thorough and thoroughly fascinating doc Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World (Icarus Films). DVD extra features include a “making of” doc and Giger photo galleries.
By Gregg Shapiro