News Column

NEW DVDS: From Larry David to 'Lovelace' and 'Parkland,' a slew of films come out Tuesday

November 1, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 01--As funny as anything from "Curb Your Enthusiasm," the HBO movie "Clear History" puts Larry David's curmudgeonly persona in a new situation. In a Hawaiian shirt with long hair, he plays Nathan Flomm, a West Coast marketing director for an electric car company ("I was the brains behind Edible Arrangements") who manages to offend his sweet boss, Will Haney (Jon Hamm), and loses a 10 percent stake in the firm just as it's about to make billions.

He not only loses a fortune, but also his wife, and his life becomes a running joke in the media because of his stupidity. Ten years later, he's living in Martha's Vineyard under the name Rolly and things are fine. No one knows his past. Then Will buys a summer house on the island and arrives by seaplane with his new, glamorous blond wife, Rhonda (Kate Hudson). He doesn't recognize Rolly, who is now bald, but the sight of Will drives Rolly crazy and he wants revenge, even though the whole thing had been caused by his own stubbornness. What follows is hilarious bad behavior that only David can excel in.

"Lovelace" tells the story of Linda Boreman, who became the porn queen Linda Lovelace of "Deep Throat" fame. The film captures both the sensation that the 1972 film caused, including comments and jokes from intellectuals to comics. It was, after all, the height of the sexual revolution and porn was not as easy as bookmarking a page on a computer.

"Deep Throat," of course, had nothing to do with the sexual revolution. It was smut, but it had some cache. "Lovelace" is a story of brutal exploitation. Boreman/Lovelace was controlled by her pimp-husband (Peter Sarsgaard, terrific as an awful character) through beatings and rape. Later, she escaped the life and became an anti-pornography crusader. Amanda Seyfried gives a poignant performance as the victim, but "Lovelace" details a complicated and conflicting story that is disquieting. At first it shows the circus atmosphere of the event and then the dreadful reality sets in.

"White House Down" is an action-thriller that once again puts the president's mansion in the line of fire. "Olympus Has Fallen" did it earlier in the year. This time, a rogue Secret Service agent (James Woods) and his henchmen have taken over the place with the chief executive (Jamie Foxx) stuck inside. Only an off-duty Capitol Hill policeman (Channing Tatum) on a White House tour with his daughter, stands in their way.

We have already been warned that mayhem will ensue. Early on in the film, a tour guide references the scene of the White House blowing up the movie "Independence Day," which is a joke, since Roland Emmerich, who directed "Independence Day" directs this picture, too. "White House Down" is perhaps better than "Olympus," but, unfortunately for the filmmakers, it came second. If you like these kind of movies, though, it's diverting except when the explosions are too mind numbing.

"Parkland," which tells the story of events in Dallas on the day JFK was assassinated, is also new.

There are some complete box sets of TV series -- the most notable of them being "Naked City," -- you know, there are 8 million stories in the "Naked City" -- the classic crime TV show that ran form 1958-63.

And if you missed anything, there's "Dexter: The Complete Final Season," and the first season of "Under the Dome." "Mad Men: Season Six" will give fans time to get ready for the final season of the acclaimed series, which will be in two parts, the first part airing next spring.

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