New on DVD: June 25

This week on DVD, Halle Berry stars as a 911 operator trying to save a kidnapping victim in the intriguing thriller, The Call

The Call

In this thriller from director Brad Anderson, a 911 phone operator (Halle Berry) gets a desperate call from a kidnapping victim (Abigail Breslin of Little Miss Sunshine) and becomes the girl’s only chance of escaping from a serial killer, who has a connection to the operator’s past.

Into the White

Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley of the Harry Potter films) stars in this fact-based Norwegian Second World War drama about a group of Norwegian, German and British soldiers who end up stranded together in a remote cabin. Knowing it is the only way that they will all survive the harsh winter conditions, they put aside their differences and band together in order to live.


In this powerful drama – based on a true story – Gael Garcia Bernal plays a young advertising executive who is hired to come up with a campaign for the opposing political party that is going up against Augusto Pinochet during the 1988 referendum in Chile.


In this British remake of the hit Danish crime film from 1996, Richard Coyle (Covert Affairs) plays Frank, a small-time London drug dealer who tries to go big by getting involved with a Serbian crime syndicate.


Second Chorus

This 1940 musical comedy starring Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, Burgess Meredith and Artie Shaw and his band fell into the public domain decades ago. This lead to many earlier releases of this film being poor, washed-out prints. Until now. Thanks to a high-def restoration by HD Cinema Classics, this film finally gets the respect it deserves.

The plot – for what’s it worth – surrounds two rival trumpet players (Astaire and Meredith) who vie for the attention of their new manager (Goddard) while trying to find success as professional musicians. But what fans really come to this film looking for are the big musical numbers, of which there are quite a few including “I Ain’t Hep To That Step, But I’ll Dig It” and “Hoe Down the Bayou”. EXTRAS include audio commentary from author and film historian Tom Santopietro, trailer and a postcard of the film’s original movie art. (HD Cinema Classics)


When Things Were Rotten

Almost 20 years before he made Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Mel Brooks co-created this 1975 TV series about the legendary anti-hero who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor (except for what he held back for expenses). Richard Gautier (who had played Hymie the robot on Brooks’ earlier TV series Get Smart) starred as the handsome Robin Hood, who along with his Merry Men (which included several familiar TV faces including Dick Van Patten and Bernie Kopell) did his best to undermine Prince John (Alias’ Ron Rifkin) and the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Henry Polic II). In typical Brooks style, the comedy ran the gamut from old-fashioned slapstick to anachronistic wordplay, but in atypical Brooks style this series was cancelled after only half a season on the air. Finally, now fans can get all 13 episodes on this 2-disc set many of which feature guest star appearances from stars like Sid Caesar, Dudley Moore and Joe E. Ross. (CBS Home Entertainment)

New Tricks: Season 9 (Acorn)

After almost a decade as a member of the UCOS in which DS Pullman (Amanda Redman) leads a group of eccentric and underestimated retired cops (Alun Armstrong, Dennis Waterman and James Bolam) as they take on trying to solve the cases that have been left behind, Jack Halford (Bolam) abruptly announces he’s quitting. Shocked with the news, the team struggles to try and solve a case that took place in Whitehall over 160 years earlier, but by the fourth episode, a new replacement is brought in: retired DI Steve McAndrew (Denis Lawson) and the cold case crime solving continues on as expected. This 10-episode season is available on a 3-DVD set. (Acorn)

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids: The Complete Series (Shout Factory)

Hey Hey Hey! This is awesome news for fans of the classic Saturday morning cartoon series. In 1972 Bill Cosby created, voiced characters and appeared in this animated series loosely based on himself and his friends growing up in Philadelphia (some of which he had been using as comic fodder in his stand-up act for years). 

While it was wild, funny and contained musical numbers, each episode had a message about important issues like racism, child abuse and stealing that they managed to sneak in there and handle maturely. It was this element that helped earn the show respect and awards over its long run. Off and on, this series ran for 8 seasons from 1972 until 1985 and now all of those 110 episodes are available here in this new 15-DVD set which also includes EXTRAS like commentary from Cosby and a documentary entitled The History of Fat Albert. (Shout Factory)


In this 2008 British comedy-drama (a remake of a New Zealand series), Amanda Redman (New Tricks) stars as Lindsay Carter, the head of a family of criminals and low-lifes that try to turn they lives around after the father goes off to prison. This 2-disc set features all 6 episodes. (Acorn)

Jack Taylor: Set 1

Based on the books by Ken Bruen, Iain Glen stars as ex-cop turned private detective Jack Taylor who takes on the cases that the police don’t want to investigate. This 3-DVD set features the first three feature-length TV movies which originally aired in the UK in 2010 and 2011. Fans of the films will be happy to note that Glen has returned in the role for a new series of films that are airing in 2013 (which will be released on DVD at a later date). (Acorn)

MADtv Season 3

This sketch series, which originally aired on Fox as a challenger to the long-running Saturday Night Live, held its own for several years and collected a talented group of comedy players including Nicole Sullivan, Debra Wilson and Phil LaMarr. At the beginning of this season, several new players were introduced (including Family Guy’s Alex Borstein and local boy Will Sasso) and the series really began taking off with characters like Miss Swan and Kenny Rogers gaining cult status. This 4-DVD set features all 25 episodes and includes appearances by Halle Berry, Anna Nicole Smith, Phyllis Diller and others. (Shout Factory)