The Public Eye on VHS video. Movie starring Joe Pesci and Barbara Hershey. With Richard Riehle, Stanley Tucci, Jerry Adler, Jared Harris. Directed by Howard Franklin. 1992.
Murder. Scandal. Crime. No matter what he was hooting, “The Great Bernzini” never took sides, he only took pictures… Except one.
Academy Award winner Joe Pesci is a brash, 1940’s tabloid photographer whose camera leads him into a shadowy underworld of mob violence, unlikely romance and dangerous corruption in this atmospheric mystery-thriller.
New York, 1942. Prowling the crime-ridden, midnight streets of the city, freelance shutterbug Leon “Bernzy” Bernstein (Pesci) captures life’s seamy side in his lens — and dreams of the day his pictures will be recognized as works of art. Then, ravishing nightclub owner Kay Levitz (Barbara Hershey) lures Bernzy into investigating the thugs trying to muscle in on her business. Before he knows it, he falls for the unattainable Kay — and plunges camera first into a treacherous realm of black market scams and mafia gang war. Now, Bernzy’s either going to take the fall or take the one-in-a-million shot that could change his life forever.
The Trial on VHS. Movie starring Anthony Perkins, Orson Welles. With Arnoldo Foa, Jess Hahn, Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Elsa Martinelli. Based on the novel by Franz Kafka. Directed by Orson Welles. 1962.
From the VHS box cover:
Gripping adaptation of Kafka’s novel makes for a frightening story of a nameless man accused of a crime without being informed of what it was.
Orson Welles’ inspiring scenes, unique staging and direction makes for fascinating, disturbing entertainment.
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Penn & Teller Get Killed on VHS video. Movie starring Penn Jillette, Teller, Caitlin Clarke, David Patrick Kelly. Directed by Arthur Penn. 1989.
From the VHS box cover:
What more do you want?
The “bad boys of magic” go over the edge in this mind-blowing comedy/mystery about two insanely competitive practical jokers who accidentally set in motion a diabolical time-bomb of a plot.
Penn & Teller, the award-winning stars of Broadway and television, employ the same shock tactics they use on Late Night with David Letterman, The Arsenio Hall Show and Saturday Night Live to create a crazed, role-switching murder mystery set in the dizzying world of Atlantic City casinos.
In a TV interview, thrill-loving Penn mentions his idea of a fun practical joke: “I wish somebody were trying to kill me. Wouldn’t that be great? It would give focus to my life, excitement! I’d be like James Bond.” Twenty-million people hear him. One decides to deliver a punchline he’ll never forget.
Get DVD: PENN AND TELLER GET KILLED
Manhunter on VHS video. Starring William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Dennis Farina, Tom Noonan, Stephen Lang. Based on the book Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. Directed by Michael Mann. 1986.
From the VHS box cover:
Enter the mind of a killer… you might never return.
“It’s just you and me now, sport.”
He knows how to kill you. And how to get away with it. How to silence the family pet, how to break into your house, where and when you sleep. He’s cool. Cunning. Determined. He is also your only hope. Because he’s the detective tracking down an elusive serial killer who strikes when the moon is full.
William L. Petersen stars as Manhunter Will Graham. Graham has an uncanny knack for getting inside the head of his deranged quarry. That’s great for crimefighting. But is it good for Graham? The line between thinking like the killer and being the killer can be a narrow one.
“It’s the best detective story I ever came across,” says screenwriter/director Michael Mann about Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon, the novel from which Manhunter was adapted. Mann should know a can’t-miss police thriller when he sees one; he’s the executive producer of Miami Vice and Crime Story. And the Miami Vice style he originated — electrifying visuals, a pulsing soundtrack, music video-inspired editing — is the perfect match for this sleek, frightening film.
Read Hannibal Lecter Book 1: Red Dragon
DVD upgrade: Manhunter (Limited Edition)
Stephen King’s It on VHS video. Starring Richard Thomas, Tim Reid, Annette O’Toole, Tim Curry, Richard Masur, John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Dennis Christopher. Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. 1990.
From the VHS box:
Your every fear — all in one deadly enemy.
It can be anything. A fanged monster that won’t stay on the movie screen. Something ominous lurking in the basement. No matter what your biggest fear is, no one knows It better than Stephen King.
Based on the King Of Horror’s 1986 bestseller, It is a jittery, jolting excursion into personal fear. A malevolent force in a small New England town takes the shape of a clown, but It is not clowning around. Instead, It terrifies youngsters with their innermost fears, bringing some to their untimely doom — until a group of wily neighborhood kids fight back. Thirty years later the evil resurfaces: meaner, angrier, deadlier. And the friends who vividly remember the terrors of their youth reunite to make a desperate stand against It.
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It by Stephen King: It
The Mystery of Rampo on VHS. Special Academy Edition. Starring Naoto Takenaka, Michiko Hada, Masahiro Motoki, Mikijirô Hira. Directed by Kazuyoshi Okuyama. 1994.
From the box:
For Your Consideration
Special Academy Edition
DVD upgrade: The Mystery of Rampo
Reservoir Dogs on VHS. Starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Lawrence Tierney. Directed by Quentin Tarantino. 1992.
From the box:
Four Perfect Killers. One Perfect Crime. Now All They To Fear Is Each Other.
They were perfect strangers, assembled to pull off the perfect crime. Then their simple robbery explodes into a bloody ambush, and the ruthless killers realize one of them is a police informer. But which one? Critically acclaimed for its raw power and breathtaking ferocity, it’s a brilliant new American gangster movie classic from writer-director Quentin Tarantino.
DVD upgrade: Reservoir Dogs (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Release the hounds (free instant video with Amazon Prime): Reservoir Dogs
The sound of dogs barking that is music to the ears: Reservoir Dogs: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack