This week’s releases are about circumstances: trapped with no sign of help; a product of one’s environment; a slave with desires for love and freedom; a cop who may have chosen the wrong career path; dreamers waiting for their big break; and a romantic hoping to extend his perfect moment.

Frozen on DVDFrozen (DVD)
Three snowboarders (Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell and Kevin Zegers) are riding the ski chairlift to the last run of the day when the lift suddenly stops and they find themselves stranded. When the ski patrol switches off the night lights, the threesome realize with growing panic and dread that they’ve been left behind, dangling high off the ground with no way down. With the resort closed until the following weekend and frostbite and hypothermia already setting in, the trio is forced to take desperate measures to escape off the mountain before they freeze to death. Once they make their move, they discover with horror that they have much more to fear than just the frigid cold. As they combat the unrelenting forces of nature and other unexpected obstacles, they start to question if their will to survive is strong enough to overcome the worst ways to die.

You don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to feel the terror of this threesome’s precarious situation. Canada’s winters are harsh and being outside in the well below zero temperatures for a short time can be painful, so stuck for days in the elements is nearly unimaginable. Their will to survive makes them resilient, but the horror that meets their attempts at escape is dreadful. At 90 minutes, Frozen is a solid thriller that never loses pace. The bonus features are great: if you didn’t get enough blood, check out the deleted scenes; and be sure to find the Easter egg to hear about an eerie coincidence that surfaced during filming.

Special features include: commentary with writer/director Adam Green and actors Ashmore, Bell and Zegers; “Catching Frostbite: the Origins of Frozen”; “Three Below Zero”; “Shooting Through it”; ‘Beating the Mountain: Surviving Frozen”; three deleted scenes with or without commentary; and the trailer. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Gangster's Paradise: Jerusalema on DVDGangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema (DVD)
Inspired by true events, it is an unflinching look into the crime and corruption of those struggling to survive in the most crime-infested district of Johannesburg. The film follows Lucky Kunene, a bright and aspiring teenager who is forced into a life of crime and corruption by those around him. By the time he reaches adulthood, Lucky has made a name for himself as a notorious criminal, feared by his enemies and praised by the locals who see him as a modern-day Robin Hood. His high profile, earned by violently and illegally overthrowing the local slumlords, attracts the attention of the police, while his evictions of junkies and prostitutes escalate tensions with the local drug lords.

Special features include: commentary with writer/director Ralph Ziman, composer Alan Lazar and actor Jafta Mamabolo; deleted scenes; and the trailer. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

The Killer Inside Me on DVDThe Killer Inside Me (DVD)
Based on the novel by pulp writer Jim Thompson, the film takes place in an idyllic West Texas town in the early 1950’s. It tells the story of a handsome, charming, unassuming small town sheriff’s deputy named Lou Ford (Casey Affleck). As a lifelong resident, Ford has difficulty juggling his long-term girlfriend Amy (Kate Hudson), the prostitute named Joyce (Jessica Alba) that he mistakenly falls for, and the sociopathic tendencies inside him. Soon he finds himself overwhelmed with the investigation of his own murders and is even more surprised when he begins to enjoy committing the crimes more than solving them. In Thompson’s savage, bleak, blacker than noir universe nothing is ever what it seems.

Special features include: a individual making-of featurettes with Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba. (Entertainment One)

King Kong on Blu-rayKing Kong (Blu-ray)
In 1933, the bold and successful filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) travels by ship with a large crew, his friend John Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) and the starlet Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) to an unknown island to shoot a movie. The local natives worship a huge gorilla called Kong and they abduct Ann to offer her in a sacrifice to Kong. Driscoll, who is in love with her, Denham, who aims to capture the animal for an exhibition in New York and part of the crew hike into the jungle, where dinosaurs live, trying to rescue Ann. King Kong falls in love with Ann and protects her from various environmental dangers. But the gorilla is captured and brought to New York. In the middle of a show in Broadway, Kong escapes, bringing panic to the Big Apple.

King Kong marked a milestone in filmmaking with equal parts adventure, horror and romance. Special effects pioneer Willis O’Brien’s revolutionary stop-motion animation was highly imaginative and technically brilliant.

Special features include: commentary by visual effects veterans Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston with interview excerpts from Merian C. Cooper and Wray; “I’m King Kong! The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper,” which profiles the original King Kong’s guiding hand; a seven-part documentary “RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World”; original creation test footage with Harryhausen commentary; the Lost Spider Pit sequence; the theatrical trailer; and 32 pages of photos and production notes. (Warner Home Video)

Party Down - Season 2 on DVDParty Down – Season 2 (DVD)
The second season finds our dreamers stuck working for tips while struggling to get the life they really want. Now that Henry (Adam Scott) is finally the manager, he’s not sure how to feel about it. However, after failing to start his own business, Ron (Ken Marino) would trade places with Henry in a heartbeat. Back from her stint doing stand-up on a cruise ship, Casey (Lizzy Caplan) is hoping to break out as a comedienne. Kyle (Ryan Hansen) is handsome, talented, and on the verge of being a star – at least in his own mind. And Roman (Martin Starr) is still waiting for the world to see his genius. The newest member of the staff, Lydia (Megan Mullally), is in L.A. to achieve stardom for her 13-year-old daughter, Escapade. In this second chapter, the ensemble cast works all-new parties, mingles with the guests and dabbles in their dramas.

Special features include: a gag reel and trailer. (Anchor Bay Entertainment)

Party Down - Season 2 on DVDThis Movie is Broken (DVD)
Unbelievably, Bruno (Greg Calderone) wakes up in bed next to Caroline (Georgina Reilly), his long time crush. But tomorrow she’s leaving for school in France and maybe she only granted this miracle as a parting gift for her long time friend. So tonight is Bruno’s last chance. And tonight, as it happens, Broken Social Scene, her favourite band, is throwing a big outdoor bash. Maybe if Bruno, with the help of his best pal Blake (Kerr Hewitt), can score tickets and give Caroline a night to remember, he can keep this miracle alive.

Director Bruce McDonald wanted to make a movie with one of his favourite bands and friends, Broken Social Scene. A free outdoor concert presented the perfect opportunity, so McDonald hurriedly – but skilfully – put together a script and casted the film’s three characters. The concert footage is woven throughout the narrative, dominating most of the screen time. The uncomplicated plot often takes a backseat to the Toronto group’s unpretentious sound, which even drowns out dialogue at certain emotionally charged moments that can still be interpreted via body language. In the end, the movie is McDonald’s ode to a great local band that is just short of being a straightforward concert documentary.

Special features include: a making-of featurette. Also included is a free download of “World Sick” from Forgiveness Rock Record and an exclusive remix of “All to All” by Sebastien Sex Legs. (Alliance Films)

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