New on DVD: June 19

New on DVD this week, legendary improvisational comedian Jonathan Winters is profiled in the hilarious documentary Certifiably Jonathan

Credit: Certifiably Jonathan features star appearances by Howie Mandel, Sarah Silverman and Robin Williams


Certifiably Jonathan

In this recent documentary, legendary improvisational comedian Jonathan Winters is 78 years old and while physically he may be moving at a slightly slower pace, his ingenious and hilarious mind is as sharp as ever – racing off in all directions at the drop of a hat (or the donning of one). It’s stunning to see how little his pace and humour has changed much over the years, as the film is peppered with clips of his early appearances in the 1950s on with Jack Parr, juxtaposed with scenes alongside some of the quick wits of today like a great scene in a Target with Howie Mandel, or renting a video with Sarah Silverman or just sitting with his old friend and protégée Robin Williams.

The only thing that mars this otherwise perfect “day in the life” of this elder statesman of show business is a running “gag” about Winters trying to get his art work (another side of the brilliant man) in the Museum of Modern Art and his favourite painting being stolen. Despite a marvelous payoff at the end of the film, these dramatic scenes are obviously being faked (thanks to the less skilled improv talents of the other participants) and therefore unneeded. Listening to Winters tell stories, hang out with friends and paint his surreal and beautiful paintings is more than enough reason to visit with this comic genius for 90 minutes. (Momo Bay)


Big Miracle

Drew Barrymore and John Kransinski star as a Greenpeace activist and a government agent who fall in love in this true story of a daring mission to save the lives of three California gray whales that end up trapped in the ice in Alaska. (Universal)


Paul Rudd reunites with his Wet Hot American Summer director David Wain for this comedy about a disenchanted New York couple (Rudd and Jennifer Ansiston) who find themselves searching for a new kind of life and end up on a “free love” commune run by Seth (played by Aniston’s real-life boyfriend Justin Theroux). (Universal)

Jeff Who Lives at Home

When their mother (Susan Sarandon) has had enough of slacker son Jeff’s (Jason Segel) direction in life – which is pretty much lying horizontal on a couch in her basement –  she asks her other son Pat (Ed Helms), who has personal problems of his own, to help straighten his brother out. What ends up happening is one long ramble as Jeff follows the “signs” that he believes lay out his destiny in this leisurely-paced comedy that is worth tagging along on. (Paramount)

Project X

Director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) doesn’t stray far from the sort of raucous films he has become synonymous for with this low-budget hand-held film about one teenager’s (Thomas Mann) attempt to feel “cool” for one night by throwing a party that gets completely out of control. (Warner)

Radio Rebel

During the day teenage Tara (Debby Ryan) is a shy high school student, but by night she shocks the world as Radio Rebel, a mysterious podcaster with a message to crush the cliques that dominate the halls of schools and let young people celebrate their individuality. But when her secret identity begins to become incredibly popular, Tara is forced to figure out how to balance her new power with who she really is. (Image)

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Gordon Pinsent stars as writer Stephen Leacock in his later years as he looks back on his life in this new adaptation of some of the writer’s stories. An all-star cast including Jill Hennessy, Donal Logue, Patrick McKenna and Colin Mochrie populate the tales set in the fictional town of Mariposa, Ontario. (eOne)

The FP

In this over-the-top spoof of street dance movies, two rival gangs fight for the supremacy of a local park by competing in a no-holds-barred competition of Dance Dance Revolution. (Anchor Bay)

Seeking Justice

After his wife (January Jones of Mad Men) is assaulted, an English teacher named Will (Nicolas Cage) is approached by a mysterious man (Guy Pearce) who offers to find and punish the man who perpetrated the attack. All he wants in return is for is a favour from Will in the future. Will agrees, but some months later when he is called on to dish out some vengeance in return, things may not seem as they are. (Anchor Bay)

Exit Humanity

If you’re just killing time before Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer comes out this summer, then you might enjoy this ambitious low-budget Canadian horror film about a zombie attack that takes place during the American Civil War. (Anchor Bay)


The Raconteurs Live at Montreaux 2008

This American rock band is made up of Jack White and his musician friends as a side project from their regular work. On the tail of releasing their second album Consolers of the Lonely, they set on tour promoting it playing the Reading and Leeds Festival, Lollapalooza and this one where they hammered out a set of their own songs and some covers.


Louie: The Complete Second Season

Comedian Louis CK (who also writes, directs and edits this series) returns as Louie, a slightly altered version of his real self – a comedian who is trying to juggle a career with being a single father and looking for love. Told with just as much unforeseen drama as comedy, this show is a strange hybrid that hits much more often than it misses and should appeal to CK’s already large fan base more than it will win over new ones. This 2-disc set features all 13 episodes. (Fox)

The Sarah Silverman Program: The Complete Series

Like Louie, this sitcom stars a comedian playing a character with the same name as in real-life whose “adventures” are a series of funny situations involving her character’s group of friends. But that’s where the similarity ends. This series, which ran for three seasons, follows Sarah – an immature and optimistic woman who refuses to get a job – as she finds herself involved in one wacky (and usual vulgar) situation after another. Another stand-out in this series is the long list of appearances of stand-up comedians who show up as characters on the show including Brian Posehn, Paul F. Tomkins and Eddie Pepitone. This set includes all 32 episodes of the series, plus tons of bonus features. (Shout Factory)

Wilfred: Season One

Based on the Australian TV series of the same name comes this surreal comedy about Ryan (Elijah Wood), a depressed lawyer who finds that his neighbour’s dog is a regular dog to everyone else but him. To Ryan, Wilfred appears as an obnoxious, smoking, boozing Australian (Jason Gann reprising his character from the original Aussie series) in a dog suit. This 13 episode series (available on 2 DVDs) features guest appearances by Dwight Yoakum, Ed Helms, Rashida Jones and Robin Williams. (Fox)

Trial and Retribution: Set Five

This crime series from Prime Suspect creator Lynda La Plante stars David Hayman and Victoria Smurfit as London detectives as they investigate some of the grimmest cases in Britain. This 2-disc set features 4 feature-length episodes from the 2008 season. (Acorn)

Being Erica: The Complete Fourth Season

Erica (Erin Karpluk) seems to be mostly happy as this Canadian comedy series enters its fourth and final season: she’s almost finishing her therapy as a doctor-in-training with Dr. Tom (Michael Riley); she’s in a new relationship and she’s running 50/50 Press with her friend Julianne. What more could she ask for? This 3-disc set features all 11 episodes of the series. (eOne)

This is Civilization

This ambitious four-episode documentary series looks at the progression of art as it relates to a changing civilization from ancient Rome through the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution into the digital photography of today. (Athena)