The Office: Season Eight
This long-running NBC show (well, long-running for NBC at least) took some hits last season, most crucially Steve Carell’s departure. The office-manager musical chairs – mostly occupied by the always reliable Ed Helms, but James Spader’s run as a corporate suit was nutso inspired – filled many of the eighth season’s plots. But there was still plenty to like in the two dozen episodes out on home video this week, especially the interplay among the ensemble, one of TV’s best when they’re given the opportunity. Too bad too many of the episodes seemed recycled. Enjoy it while you can: The upcoming ninth season doesn’t offer much hope. The five DVD and Blu-ray discs come with a bunch of extras, including deleted and extended scenes, as well the weekly webisodes, which sometimes are way funnier than the programs they’re supposedly supporting.
Searching for Sugar Man
Obscure singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez disappeared after releasing a pair of little-heard albums in the early 1970s. About a decade ago, some South Africans rediscovered his music, and before long the Detroit native had become modern-day hipsters’ favorite lost cult hero. This documentary takes a look at Rodriguez’s winding story, which is as inspiring as it is frustrating. It opens Friday at the Cedar Lee Theatre.
Celine and Julie Go Boating
Fans of David Lynch’s colossal mindfuck Mulholland Dr. will find lots to love in this 1974 French film, which the Cinematheque is showing this week in a new 35mm print. Two women swap personalities and then slip into another sort of reality that’s long on heightened melodrama. The movie clocks in at more than three hours, so settle in. It’s showing at the Cinematheque at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
British badass Jason Statham plays an ex-cop who used to be an MMA cage wrestler before he pissed off the Russian mob. After they kill his family, he’s on the run and out for vengeance. Oh yeah, he’s also protecting a 12-year-old girl marked by the Chinese mob. Confused yet? At least there are some amazing action scenes to clear your head of all the questions you’ll have. The movie comes to home video this week.
Now that the summer blockbuster season is officially over, we’re looking at a couple months of mostly meh multiplex movies before Oscar hopefuls are trotted out. This one is a bit more ambitious than most. Bradley Cooper plays a writer who finds an abandoned manuscript, passes it off as his own work, and then faces a shit storm of consequences. Olivia Wilde, Zoe Saldana, and Dennis Quaid co-star. It opens Friday.
Mad Monster Party
Did you know that Rankin/Bass, the animation studio behind the holiday classics Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, made a feature-length movie in 1967 with Frankenstein, Dracula, and a werewolf that starred the Frankenstein monster himself, Boris Karloff? The stop-motion sleeper makes its Blu-ray debut this week in a combo pack that includes behind-the-scenes extras.
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein
Universal’s great year-long 100th anniversary celebration continues with the Blu-ray debut of the venerable comedy team’s best movie, a 1948 hit that pairs the duo with the studio’s even more popular monsters. The Wolf Man, Dracula, and Frankenstein’s monster all show up; best of all, Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi reprise their most famous roles. Extras include a look at Abbott & Costello’s run-in with other monsters over the years.