Film and TV

Today's DVDs & Blu-rays: A Must-have No Pryor Restraint and More

There isn't a comedian working today that doesn't owe something to Richard Pryor. Not one. And No Pryor Restraint, the new comprehensive box set, is the proof. At $90, the set is pricey, but absolutely worth it. Outrageous, courageous, streetwise, smart, raw, even base, Pryor was phenomenal when he was standing in front of a mike or a camera.

Covering the years from 1966 to 1992, the set includes 12 hours of prime Pryor material spread over two DVDs and seven CDs. There are three full concert films:Richard Pryor Live in Concert,, Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip ( and Richard Pryor .. Here and Now. The CDs include Richard Pryor, 'Craps' (After Hours), That Nigger's Crazy, ...Is It Something I Said?, Bicentennial Nigger, Wanted/Richard Pryor - Live In Concert, Live On The Sunset Strip and Here And Now.

Pryor was never politically correct, he was, however, always politically relevant. His commentaries on race, relationships (all spectacularly dysfunctional), sex, drugs (yes, he set himself on fire during a drug binge), his heart attack (God's way of getting Pryor's attention) and his ever-evolving use of the N-word (an insult, a code word, a completely irrelevant misnomer) gave audiences insight not only to the man, but to the changing times he lived in.

Extras include a booklet with rare photos, various essays, celebrity commentary, discography, filmography, and a note from Pryor's wife, Jennifer Lee Pryor.

There are a couple more titles out this week worth noting, including the indie film Fred Won't Move Out. Elliot Gould plays Fred, an elderly man with a wife suffering from Alzheimer's. The couple's adult children want to move her to an assisted living center - and they want the still healthy Fred to go with her. Writer/director Richard Ledes, who based the screenplay on his experience with his own parents, shot the film at his Westchester County parents' house.

The documentary The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg by director Jerry Aronson is based on more than 120 hours of footage of the writer Aronson collected over 25 years. Ginsberg's family, friends and associates are seen in exclusive interviews, while Ginsberg reads from his work, visits Jack Kerouac's grave with Bob Dylan and leads a tour through an exhibition of his photographs. There are more than six hours of extras.

The TNT television series Major Crimes: Season One is released on DVD today. The show is the sequel to the popular The Closer which starred Kyra Sedgwick as the quirky and extremely effective Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief Brenda Leigh Johnson. Sedgwick is gone, but the rest of the talented cast is back as a slightly reconfigured Major Crimes unit with former Internal Affairs officer Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) in charge. Sedgwick's character was an expert at getting confessions, McDonnell's Raydor isn't and the storylines have been altered appropriately. The kinks were still being worked out in the new formula at the end of season one, but things looked like they were going in the right direction. Is this The Closer Part 2? No. And from what we see in Season One, that's a good thing. New cast members include Graham Patrick Martin as Rusty, a teenage witness who's moved in with Raydor. The character allows Raydor to show her more maternal side. Extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel and the making of a featurette.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Olivia Flores Alvarez