New on DVD: June 4

This week on DVD, yippee ki-yay action fans! John McLean returns for another entry in the Die Hard series

A Good Day to Die Hard

After a six-year hiatus, Bruce Willis returns to the role that transformed him from a TV star into a movie star. This time out, John McClane is in Russia to visit his grown son (Jai Courtney) only to find out that his boy is actually a CIA agent trying to stop terrorists from stealing nuclear weapons.

Identity Thief

When his financial world collapses after a case of identity theft, Sandy (Jason Bateman) turns to the police. When they refuse to help, he decides to head across country and track the perpetrator (Melissa McCarthy) down himself.

Warm Bodies

50/50 director Jonathan Levine helms this rom-zom-com about a lovesick zombie (Nicholas Hoult) who falls for the girlfriend (Teresa Palmer) of one of his victims – a romance that could have apocalyptic results.

Escape From Planet Earth

In this new animated comedy, Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is the bravest astronaut the planet Baab has ever seen, but when he answers an SOS call from another planet and ends up captured by the evil Shanker (William Shatner), it’s up to his less-than-brave brother Gary (Rob Corddry) to rescue him. (eOne)


Electra Glide in Blue

This little-known drama from 1973 is a great example of the crossover between traditional Hollywood filmmaking and the more experimental period that launched former film students like Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas into the forefront of a generation. Directed by first time director James William Guercio, whose “day job” was a record producer for bands like Chicago – most of whose members appear in the film,  Electra Glide is the story of a hard-working and brutally honest Arizona motorcycle cop named John Wintergreen (Baretta’s Robert Blake) who longs to park his bike and become a detective like his idol the sharply-dressed Harve Poole (Mitchell Ryan).

When John and his partner are alerted to the death of an old man who lives in a shack out in the desert, John’s investigative instincts tell him that this was no suicide and he is given the opportunity of a lifetime to accompany Poole in solving the case. When he begins to see how Poole bullies and cheats his way through his job, John begins to question his chosen profession and therefore his entire life choices.  At times the film feels like it could be a perfect partner to a double-feature with Easy Rider with its free-wheeling improvisational style, while some performances (especially a monologue by Petticoat Junction’s Jeanine Riley as a sexy waitress at a roadside bar) gives it a dated feel.  EXTRAS include a new audio commentary from the director . (Shout Factory)

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry/Race With the Devil

It’s hard to think of two films from the 1970s better suited to watch as a double-feature  (aside from maybe the Ron Howard flicks Eat My Dust and Grand Theft Auto) than these two Peter Fonda thrillers. If it’s possible, you should set up your big screen TV outside and watch this from your car for the full old-fashioned drive in experience.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) is basically one long car chase in which two buddies  (Fonda and Adam Roarke) and one’s girlfriend (Susan George) rob a grocery store in order to buy a better car for their NASCAR racing dream, but end up being hunted down by a dogged sheriff and his men.
In Race With the Devil (1975) Fonda and his buddy (Warren Oates) along with their wives (Lara Parker and MASH’s Loretta Swit) find their RV holiday interrupted when they accidentally witness a coven of hooded devil worshippers performing a human sacrifice in a field. As they try to escape and alert the authorities, they run for their lives while questioning which of the locals they can trust. (Shout Factory)

Rolling Thunder

Written by Paul Schrader, who also penned Taxi Driver, this 1977 thriller is another example of the wounded Vietnam vet struggling to return to a life of normalcy back home. Where Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle’s damage was entirely internal, this film’s lead character Major Charles Rane (William Devane) seems remarkably okay aside from his recurring nightmares of his time spent as a POW. But once his wife and son are killed during a home invasion robbery and he is mortally wounded, his entire being is focused on exacting revenge on the thieves. Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Haynes provide a strong supporting cast as an old military friend and the local girl who falls for him.  EXTRAS include interview with the Schrader, Devane and Jones and more. (Shout Factory)


Wilfred: The Original Series

In 2007, Australian writer-actors Jason Gann and Adam Zwar created this black comedy about a man named Adam who meets and begins dating a woman named Sarah (Cindy Waddingham). Although he gets along great with her, his relationship with her dog Wilfred is prickly at best. To make matters worse, Adam sees Wilfred not as a dog, but as a man in a dog suit (played by Gann) and Wilfred’s jealousy and dislike for Adam makes him do terrible things to the man. This series (which spawned an American remake in 2011 also starring Genn as Wilfred, but with Elijah Wood replacing Zwar) ran for two seasons down under for a total of 16 episodes which are now available in this 4-disc set. (Shout Factory)

Rawhide: The Sixth Season (Vol. 1 & 2)

This long-running Western TV series starred Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates, a cowboy working with a cattle driver named Gil Favor (Eric Fleming) whose cross-country adventures had them meeting up with a wide variety of characters (including in this 30 episode season – available in two-4-disc sets – Mickey Rooney, Frankie Avalon, Beau Bridges, Barbara Eden and many others).  (Paramount)