It's a bridge week here at the ol' DVD announcement column. Those expecting word on Inception, Eclipse or even The A-Team will have to wait a little longer. Instead you get a chance to infuse your Netflix queues and Amazon shopping carts with some of the films from the festival circuit that opened quietly and at least one that hasn't even opened yet.
The choice of the week is, unquestionably, Kino's release of Ben Steinbauer's wonderful documentary Winnebago Manon November 2. Some of you may still have an old bootleg VHS of the Jack Rebney outtakes; the Winnebago salesman whose behind-the-scenes commercial flubs have become legendary. We're in the digital age now so you can revisit it all on YouTube, but Rebney was probably the first guy to deserve a "web redemption" on Tosh.O. Even better though, Steinbauer gave him one in feature film form. He tracked down Rebney, who alternately is very forthcoming and standoff-ish in coming clean about his celebrity status, resulting in a film very much like the terrific Best Worst Movie which gets under the curtain of infamy's fame and how it affects an unwitting subject. Unlike the next release on our list.
Magnolia hasn't even released Casey Affleck's I'm Still Hereyet as it opens on Sept. 10 and is even playing the Toronto Film Festival. But they have released their November home schedule and Amazon is showing it for November 23. So if you don't want to venture to the theaters or dial up the on demand exploits of the reported "lost year of Joaquin Phoenix", you may as well wait to see how much was hoax, how good a rapper he is and finding out the all-important question of "Why?"
A quirkier individual you may be better off spending your time with is Henry Harrison. Kevin Kline plays the eccentric former professor who works as an escort to rich, elder women and a mentor/roommate to Paul Dano in The Extra Man. Not exactly catching on after Sundance the way American Splendor did, but much better than their adaptation of The Nanny Diaries, Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini have brought Kline back to territory where there is arguably nobody better. Add in a hilarious supporting turn by John C. Reilly and you have a comedy well worth checking out on Nov. 16. It will be a nice levity to the nerve-jangling documentary Countdown To Zeroon Nov. 23 which examines just how close we have come to nuclear war over the years and how the threat is as real as ever today when our terror concentration has shifted elsewhere.
Finally, Magnolia offers you Neil Marshall's Centurion, a bloody and rather nonsensical treatment of the story of Roman soldiers trapped and hunted behind enemy lines. Nonsensical since it asks us to root for the Romans while its chief villain is a woman whose parents were killed by them and raped as a young girl. Yeah, it's like watching Conan the Barbarian and rooting for Thulsa Doom. Wait and hope for something better with Kevin Macdonald's The Eagle next February, a retelling of the same story.
Define "special" anyway you want this week. For you maybe it means The Rita Hayworth Film Collection from Sony on Nov. 2. Featuring five of her films (Cover Girl, Gilda, Miss Sadie Thompson, Salome, Tonight and Every Night), that is quite special. Especially if your name is Andy Dufresne. For others "special" takes on a less flattering definition as the same studio releases Lake Placid 3 a week earlier on Oct. 26. You remember Lake Placid, right? Giant alligator. Funny banter with Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Platt written by the guy doing Ally McBeal at the time? Sure ya do. Now, remember Lake Placid 2? Nope, neither do I.
I would rather direct you to whole other kind of special. And I don't even mean the Melissa Moore scream queen triple threat coming out from MVD on Oct. 19 (Scream Dream& Double Feature: Swimsuit Sensations & Knockout Workout). No I'm talking about one of the funniest films I saw at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008. It was called Cooper's Camera at the time and it's now called Cooper's Christmas. It stars The Daily Show's Jason Jones and Samantha Bee as the head of a family in the mid-'80s who get their first video camera around the holidays. Using the same "found footage" style all the rage in Blair Witch, Cloverfield and the recent Last Exorcism, here's a film that uses it for big laughs. Any Daily Show fan of Jones and his atypical guy antics is in for a real treat here and I urge you to look out for it when Anchor Bay releases it on Nov. 16, right in time for Thanksgiving. Show it to your family – after the kids are tucked away.
If you're a musical lover then this is your week as Fox has announced The Sound of Musicfor the format. This 45th Anniversary Edition can replace your 40th Anniversary Edition or your Five-Star Edition or whatever version you currently own. It will be available on DVD as well on Nov. 9. Also coming to Blu-ray on Nov. 30 is The Wizfrom Universal, serving as another reminder that Michael Jackson is gone.
Better yet, if you're a Paz Vega fan you can thank Palm Pictures for releasing her in all her Blu-ray glory in Sex and Luciaon Oct. 12. Or if ugly, untalented women are your thing, Lions Gate is releasing five of Tyler Perry's films on Nov. 23. Not sure if Madea needs to ever be in high-definition, but it's your business if you want to own Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Family That Preys, Madea Goes To Jail, Madea's Family Reunion or Why Did I Get Married? in that manner.