Digital Breakdown: 'Rambo' surprisingly good

Who exactly was clamoring for a new “Rambo”? The last movie in the series (“Rambo III”) was in theaters 20 years ago. But what’s shocking is that this new “Rambo” isn’t half-bad. In fact, if anything, “Rambo” (which really should have a “IV” after it) is a throwback to old-school action flicks from pre-CGI days when stunts were real.

Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) has spent the last two decades living a peaceful life on the Thai-Burmese border catching snakes, fishing and staying out of trouble. But when a group of missionaries asks him to travel up river to bring medical aid to rebels in Burma, he is forced to fight the good fight against an army of terrible tyrannical goons. This “Rambo” actually points to the current political reality of oppressive leadership in Myanmar.

This DVD set features audio commentary from Stallone, deleted scenes, six featurettes, trailers from prior “Rambo” films and a digital copy of the film that can be transferred to an iPod or laptop computer. Price: $34.98 to $39.99. Rent or buy: Rent

GRACE IS GONE

When Stanley (John Cusack) learns that his military wife assigned to Iraq has died, he puts off telling his daughters, instead taking them on a drive from their Minnesota home to aFlorida theme park in an attempt to help fulfill their greatest wishes. Along the way, he musters the courage to tell them the sad news and to begin the mourning process himself.

“Grace is Gone” isn’t going to win any happiest-film award, but Cusack turns in a wonderful, out-of-character performance as a husband whose world has been shattered and at the same time, tries to protect his daughters from pain. Extras include one featurette looking at real-life inspirations for the film. Price: $28.95. Rent or buy: Rent

DARIO ARGENTO BOX SET

The master of the Italian giallo (literally meaning yellow, but also a term for Italian stylized cinema) and one of the best horror directors on the planet, Dario Argento gets his own tribute box set from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment.

Labeled by numerous critics and fans as “the Italian Hitchcock,” Argento is getting mainstream Hollywood work with Showtime’s “Masters of Horror” series and an upcoming horror film, aptly named “Giallo.” The films in this set are: “Tenebre,” “Phenomena,” “Trauma,” “The Card Player” and “Do You Like Hitchcock?” Price: $49.97. Rent or buy: Buy

LIPSTICK JUNGLE: SEASON ONE

After mediocre ratings from its first season, this NBC series from the creator of “Sex and the City” was recently given a surprise second season. This DVD of a truncated season — due to the four-month-long writers’ strike — has seven episodes on two discs. It’s best used for catching up in time for the show’s new season debut in the fall. There aren’t a lot of extras. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Rent

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING

The classic BBC sitcom is finally available as a complete collection featuring 36 episodes, three specials and extras including two featurettes, never-before-seen sketches, outtakes, alternate audio track commentaries and more on nine discs. Before it gets remade in the U.S., check out this awesome original. Price: $129.98 Rent or buy: Buy

Other DVDs making their debut Tuesday: “Invaders — Season One,” “Holocaust,” “Rawhide: Season Three — Volume One,” “Darfur Now,” “Typhoon,” “Cassandra’s Dream,” “Cleaner” and “Shelter.”

artsentertainmentOther Arts

Just Posted

California Highway Patrol officers watch as Caltrans workers remove barricades from homeless camp sites as residents are forced to relocate from a parking lot underneath Interstate 80 on Monday, May 17, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco’s broken promise to resolve homeless encampments

‘There is an idea that The City is leading with services, and they are not’

Gabriela Lopez, Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga were sworn in to the Board of Education on Jan. 7, 2019. The election date for their possible recall is Feb. 15, 2022. (Ida Mojadad/S.F. Examiner)
The silver lining of San Francisco’s ‘recall fever’

Recalls are an expensive but valuable amplifier for everyday people

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

FILE — Mort Sahl on Nov. 10, 1967. Sahl, who confronted Eisenhower-era cultural complacency with acid stage monologues, delivering biting social commentary in the guise of a stand-up comedian and thus changing the nature of both stand-up comedy and social commentary, died on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, at his home in Mill Valley, Calif., near San Francisco. He was 94. (Don Hogan Charles/The New York Times)
Legendary local comedian dies at 94

By Bruce Weber NYTimes News Service Mort Sahl, who confronted Eisenhower-era cultural… Continue reading

Most Read