Parts Per Billion, Dan Curtis' Dracula, Cimarron Strip: The Complete Series 


click to enlarge Cimarron Strip: The Complete Series

Cimarron Strip: The Complete Series (NR)

Entertainment One

Deadwood was almost a decade ago, and the old-fashioned Western is now a virtual ghost town on the tube. But back in the '60s Westerns were No. 1, from Rawhide and Gunsmoke to Bonanza and this classic series starring Stuart Whitman. Airing on CBS in the '67 and '68 seasons, Cimarron Strip was unique in that each episode was a 90-minute movie, cumulating in 23 feature-length episodes and featuring guest stars like David Carradine, Warren Oates and Jon Voight. Whitman is U.S. Marshal Jim Crown, a tough but fair dude who patrols the border between Kansas and Oklahoma, constantly keeping the peace and doling out justice to outlaws and settlers alike. It's a dated affair, sure, but it's also an entertaining sojourn into another time and place, providing two-gun adventures that probably wouldn't cut the mustard today. — Louis Fowler

click to enlarge Parts Per Billion (R)

Parts Per Billion (R)


It's the end of the world as we know it, and at least three couples are pretty far from OK. Writer-director Brian Horiuchi's arduous weeper hops in time, before and after a humanity-extinguishing pathogen wreaks havoc upon the world, like (500) Days of Summer meets Contagion. And it's as much fun as that sounds. The film zeros in on their interconnected stories, brought to life by a fascinating cast with diverse career arcs. Hollywood vets Frank Langella and Gena Rowlands devastate as one of the last couples standing. Josh Hartnett and Rosario Dawson, both of whom peaked about a decade ago, do a fine job of reminding us they exist, while rising A-lister Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies) outshines them all as a restless spirit facing her inevitable end. The result is a series of vignettes that's less than the sum of its parts, a film that begs for elevation and settles for despair. — Justin Strout

click to enlarge Dan Curtis' Dracula (NR)

Dan Curtis' Dracula (NR) (Blu-ray)

MPI Home Video

When Dan Curtis, the man behind the classic Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, decided to adapt Bram Stoker's novel Dracula into an atmospheric movie, he didn't waste any time in classing the joint up by hiring legendary writer Richard Matheson and casting such screen stalwarts as Jack Palance, Simon Ward and Nigel Davenport. As the Prince of Darkness, Palance turns on the gravelly gravitas, portraying Ol' Vlad as a depressed, tortured soul trying to find love in the arms of the beautiful Lucy Westenra. The brave choice proved Curtis to be far more than a camp-afternoon TV Lothario, and his mostly accurate adaptation is heavy on the macabre theatrics and creepy vibe. While it's mostly been forgotten in time thanks to the umpteen other re-tellings in recent years, this 1974 version remains one of the creepiest of the lot. — Louis Fowler


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