By DNA Smith
PICKS OF THE WEEK
There are no major movie releases this week, but we do have one impressive remake of a classic series and several re-releases of modern-day classic films. So let’s get started:
“Upstairs Downstairs” (Unrated) — For four seasons between 1971 and 1974, PBS viewers were enthralled by “Upstairs Downstairs,” the period drama of manners that has been voted by many as one of the most beloved drama series of the past 50 years. Now, 40 years later, it returns in this lavishly produced remake starring Ed Stoppard and Keeley Hawes (“Ashes to Ashes”) as Lord Hallam as his wife Lady Agnes, and Jean Marsh as Rose Buck, the housekeeper charged with finding the staff needed to help run the elegant lifestyle of the upstairs world.
The year is 1936 and the world is changing. As Lord Hallam and Lady Agnes move into Beaton Place, fascism is on the rise in Europe, and the British monarchy is facing an abdication crisis. A new staff must be found to help the couple modernize their lavish home and also care for the family, including the Lord’s widowed mother and her pet monkey, and his wayward sister, who has fallen under the spell of a member of the British Union of Fascists — an affair that soon will bring her and the family into physical and political peril.
“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The Criterion Collection” (R) — Johnny Depp stars as Raoul Duke, the gonzo alter-ego of journalist Hunter S. Thompson, in this Terry Gilliam-directed, drug-fueled epic journey into the savage heart of the American Dream. As with all Criterion releases, “Fear and Loathing” is stuffed to the gills with outstanding special features, pristine picture and sound, and three separate commentary tracks — including one from Thompson himself.
“Sin City” (Two-Disc Theatrical & Recut, Extended and Unrated Versions) (R) — “Sin City” is not only the best movie director Robert Rodriguez has ever made, it unquestionably the best comic-book movie ever. Based on the series by Frank Miller (who shares directing credit), “Sin City” is raw, violent, gritty, sexy and 100-percent pure, trashy pulp fiction.
“Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back” (PG) — In 1965, documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker followed Bob Dylan for three weeks during his concert tour of England. The result is an intimate look at the artist as a young man, and a film that served as a template for all other music documentaries that followed.
“South Park” Complete Fourteenth Season
“Lucy Show” Official Fourth Season
“Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman” Complete Season 5
“Lucy Show” Four Season Pack
“Growing Pains” Complete Second Season
“Stan Lee’s Superhumans”
“The Universe: The Complete Series Megaset”
“Nova: Making Stuff”
“Frontline: Post Mortem”
“The Larry Sanders Show” Season 3
“Marvel The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” Vol. 1
“Spectacle” Season 2
“American Experience: Stonewall Uprising”
“Doc Martin” Collection — Series 1-4
© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.