The western gets a modern twist in Longmire, also Superbowl XLVIII on Blu-ray, DVD
By Peter Covino
A&E Editor/film critic
The golden age of the TV western is long dead, but every once in a while a new series comes along that sort of revives what was once the most popular genre of television.
Longmire, a modern western set in Wyoming (and currently airing on A&E) certainly feels like something out of the old west, even it is set in the 21st century.
Season three has just started, but you can catch up on every episode in Longmire: The Complete First and Second Seasons (Warner Archive Collection) in a six-disc Blu-ray set.
While I am a fan of the TV drama series that builds on each episode (the kind of thing HBO pioneered with The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire etc.) but with Longmire, you don’t need to invest the time every week. You know that next week, Sheriff Longmire (Robert Taylor and no, not that Robert Taylor) will be back on the job again, most likely solving another murder in rural Wyoming.
There are some continuing storylines, but mostly it is just the sheriff and his deputies working on the latest crime caper.
This Robert Taylor is actually from Australia and his resume fits the man who plays a sheriff perfectly. He was a miner as a teenager and also worked as a lifeguard, bouncer and on an oil rig before he turned to acting.
Rounding out the cast is Bailey Chase, who plays the younger deputy Branch Connally, who thinks he can do a better job and also wants to be sheriff; Vic (Katee Sackhoff), Longmire’s right hand man/woman; Lou Diamond Phillips (best known for playing Richie Valens in the film La Bamba) as the sheriff’s best friend, a Cheyenne who helps keep him in good graces with the nearby Indian reservation and daughter, Cady (Cassidy Freman).
The Blu-ray includes 23 episodes of the series and several bonuses including three featurettes and two episodes in an extended format.
The Blu-ray version of Longmire is available only at the warnerarchive.wbshop.com.
Northern Maine is certainly getting a reputation in the movies. First it was the giant man-eating crocodile in Lake Placid (1999) that made it unsafe to go in the water. Now, the low-budget Almost Human makes the woods and highways and homes of the state unsafe as well.
“Based on a true story” (but I really don’t think so), Almost Human (IFC Films) shows what happens when humans are abducted by aliens with a plan.
This is mostly just an old-fashioned old-school slasher film, with lots of gore, but instead of Jason or Freddy or Michael, there is your average Mainer who gets abducted one night by a bright light and returns a few years later for a night of carnage.
Set in the real town of Patten (but actually filmed in Rhode Island, but Lake Placid wasn’t filmed in Maine either), the story begins on the night of the abduction when film hero Seth (Graham Skipper) runs screaming to the house of a friend, that he is being chased by a brilliant flash of light. His friend Mark (Josh Ethier) thinks he is crazy until he too sees something really crazy is happening and tempts fate by going outdoors. He is zapped away, but returns as something terribly evil.
Seth keeps having premonitions though that something bad is going to happen, and, well, people should have listened.
Joe Begos is a debut director and he clearly likes the material, keeping things pretty serious, creepy and dark, with lots of gore.
Almost Human, available on Blu-ray and DVD, has several bonus features including commentaries and a full-length “making of” feature.
The release date is Tuesday.
Men of the Fighting Lady
And finally for dad, Men of the Fighting Lady (1954) is a classic, based on the writing of James A. Michener. Featuring an all-star cast of Frank Lovejoy, Keenan Wynn, Van Johnson, Dewey Martin and Walter Pidgeon, it is the lives of men aboard an aircraft carrier during the Korean War. The film features lots of air action as well as the psychological tension. The DVD is available only at warnerachive.wbshop.com.
Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl
Hang on dad, I’ve got one more that you really might like for Father’s Day, Seattle Seahawks Road to XLVIII.
Even if you are not a Seahawks fan, this NFL films production is the real deal for football fans.
The two disc set not only includes every moment of Super Bowl XLVIII, but disc one also features how the team got to the Super Bowl: the NFC Divisional Playoffs game versus the New Orleans Saints and NFC Championship game versus the San Francisco 49ers.
The Seattle Seahawks’ 2013 season was an historic campaign, ending with a dominant Super Bowl XLVIII performance at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Seattle’s league-leading defense and star-studded offense sparked post-season triumphs over New Orleans and San Francisco.
Yes, it was not even close when the Seahawks demolished the Denver Broncos on offense and defense in the 43-8 victory to capture the Lombardi Trophy.
The divisional playoff game and NFC Championship were much more of a nail-biter.
From the DVD release: “There is no better way for the “12’s” to relive the magic than with Seattle Seahawks: Road to XLVIII,” said Norbert Hudak, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Brand Management for Cinedigm. “The Seahawks repeatedly rose to the challenge and made an indelible statement that the entire world witnessed – now fans can own this keepsake forever with this collectible set timed for Father’s Day.”