BEST BEACH BOOKS FOR JUNE: SCIENCE, POLITICS AND MORE MOVIE STARS (PART TWO)

Fifteen years after The Devil Wears Prada was published, Lauren Weisberger revisits one of her favorite characters from the novel—Emily Charlton, first assistant to Miranda Priestly, now a highly successful image consultant who has just landed the client of a lifetime. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.When Life Gives You Lululemons Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI—with a Suburban full of other people’s children. We can’t reveal more because we just pissed in pour pants. It’s that funny!

Now we know why Ronan Farrow won a Pulitzer. In War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence (W. W. Norton & Company, $27.95), he reveals how America is becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later. Or never. And while this is a new extreme, Farrow shows us it is not unprecedented. Herr Adolph Frump is putting his foot onto the throat of a diplomatic enterprise that has been weakening for decades—and history tells us that the consequences could be catastrophic. The book brings the State Department into vivid focus, as Farrow personalizes epic events and offers an account of American statecraft at once conversational and trenchant. War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American InfluenceHe provides readers with a page-turning, character-driven narrative, using the personal stories of
those whose lives were affected—and sometimes destroyed—by the decline of American diplomacy to shed light on this unsung transformation in America’s place in the world. War on Peace  contains interviews with every former secretary of state alive; Farrow also unearths previously secret documents and speaks with hundreds of insiders—from whistleblowers to ambassadors to generals, spies, and warlords—to reveal how the power to make foreign policy slipped from America’s civilian diplomats and into the hands of its uniformed officers, the consequences around the world, and what might be done to change
course.

Nikola Tesla invented the radio, the induction motor, the neon lamp, and the remote control. His scientific discoveries made possible X-ray technology, wireless communications, and radar, and he predicted the Internet and even the smart watch. His image appears on stamps;Life magazine lists him as one of the one hundred most famous people of the last millennium. 

And yet, his contemporaries and fellow inventors Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi achieved far greater commercial success and popular recognition. In Tesla: Inventor of the Modern [W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95 hardcover], Richard Munson asks whether Tesla’s eccentricities eclipsed his genius. Ultimately, he delivers an enthralling biography that illuminates every facet of Tesla’s life while justifying his stature as the most original inventor of the late nineteenth century.

In Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film  (St. Martin’s Press; $27.99)  Don Grahamoffers a larger-than-life narrative of the making of the classic film based on Edna Ferber’s controversial novel. Taking a wide-angle view of America—and Texas—in the Eisenhower era, Graham reveals how the film and its production mark the rise of America as a superpower, the ascent of Hollywood celebrity, and the flowering of Texas culture as mythology. Featuring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, Giant dramatizes a family saga against the background of the oil industry and its impact upon ranching culture—think Spindletop Hill in Beaumont, Texas, and the fabled King Ranch in South Texas. Almost as good as the film.

In Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History (Liveright, $28.95) Yunte Huang recounts the peculiar, and often ironic, rise of Chang and Eng from sideshow curiosity to Southern gentry—an unlikely story that exposes the foibles of a young republic eager to tyrannize and delight in the abnormal. Famous for their quick wit (they once refunded a one-eyed man half his ticket because he “couldn’t see as much as the others”), Chang and Eng became a nationwide sensation, heralded as living symbols of the humbugged freak.  Their unrivaled success quickened the birth of mass entertainment in America, leading to the minstrel show and the rise of showmen like P.T. Barnum.

And it is here that we encounter a twist. Miraculously, despite the 1790 Naturalization Act which limited citizenship to “free white persons” (until 1952), Chang and Eng became American citizens under the Superior Court of North Carolina. They then went on to marry two white sisters—Sarah and Adelaide Yates—and father 23 children despite the interracial marriage ban (in place until 1967). They owned 18 slaves and became staunch advocates for the Confederacy, so much so that their sons fought for the South during the Civil War. Huang reveals that it was perhaps their very “otherness” that worked for them: they were neither one individual, or quite two.

Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at 32, Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. Following a decade of research, dozens of rarely seen photographs, and more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family and friends, Bruce Lee: A Life (Simon & Schuster, $35) breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and delivers a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

The book  explores Lee’s early years: his career as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction; his troublemaking teen years; and his beginnings as a martial arts instructor. Polly chronicles the trajectory of Lee’s acting career in Hollywood, from his frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup, to his eventual triumph as a leading man, to his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband. Polly also sheds light on Bruce Lee’s shocking end—which is to this day is still shrouded in mystery—by offering an alternative theory behind his tragic demise.

When Henry Alford first wrote about his experience with a Zumba class, little did he realize that it was the start of something much bigger. Dance would grow and take on many roles for Henry: exercise, confidence builder, an excuse to travel, a source of ongoing wonder and—when he dances with Alzheimer’s patients—even a kind of community service.  Tackling a wide range of forms with gusto (including ballet, hip-hop, jazz, ballroom, tap, contact improvisation, swing), And Then We Danced: A Voyage into the Groove (Simon & Schuster, $26) takes us through the works and careers of luminaries ranging from Bob Fosse to George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp to Arthur Murray, Isadora Duncan to Savion Glover. Equal parts memoir and cultural history, this laugh-out-loud book will inform, entertain and leave readers tapping their toes.

 

Stop dishing out lunchtime $. Feast on “Lunchbox Salads: More than 100 Fast, Fresh, Filling Salads for Every Weekday”

Summertime . . . and the heat is on. The last thing anyone should worry about is food. Good food. Even great food. Our lives are so busy and fast-paced that buying a $12 salad for lunch seems almost reasonable in the name of health. But what if you can make a salad that’s just as good, if not better, at home—for a fraction of the cost? And what if there’s a way to bring it to work in a way that gets it there without dreaded wilted lettuce and soggy croutons?

Food for though: Lunchbox Salads: More than 100 Fast, Fresh, Filling Salads for Every Weekday(Da Capo Lifelong Books, $18.99) Naomi Twigden and Anna Pinder teach us what to keep on hand, how to construct a salad you’ll enjoy, and how to transport your masterpiece to the office.

All of the recipes are simple yet filling and are designed to keep hunger at bay and your energy high. Each takes no more than thirty minutes to prepare and requires no more than ten ingredients. Some of the highlights include:

  • Candied Miso Tomato Salad
  • Kale + Walnut Pesto Salad
  • Red Pepper + Fennel Quinoa Salad
  • Balsamic, Beet + Red Onion Salad
  • Smokey Broccoli + Bacon Salad
  • Eggplant + Almond Falafel Salad
  • Cabbage Caraway Chicken Salad
  • Ribboned Zucchini Salad with Thai Fishcakes

With full-color photos throughout and easy to follow vegetarian recipes (as well as tips for incorporating meat options), this cookbook contains fourteen sections, each with a different main ingredient ranging from carrots to cauliflower, sweet potatoes to squash. Sprinkled throughout are recipes for salad’s best friend, soup—including a delicious paprika-laced Green Bean Minestrone. The final section focuses on sauces and dressings—everything from a classic Buttermilk Caesar to a zingy Coconut-Lime. Typical healthy food can be boring and limiting, but Lunchbox Salads proves once and for all that iceberg and romaine aren’t the only options.

 

Best Beach Books for June: History, Horror and Movie Stars (Part One)

It’s been called “the publishing event of 2018.” With good reason.  Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s The President Is Missing (Knopf/Little,Brown $30) is a superlative thriller . . . one that can really happen, and one that must not be missed. The mystery confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America. Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view.

Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years. And a timely, historic story that will be read-and talked about-for years to come.

A book about Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, as a beach read? Absolutely. And much more entertaining than, say, a collection of Peanuts. In President Carter: The White House Years (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, $40) Stuart E. Eizenstat presents a comprehensive history of the Carter Administration, demonstrating that Carter was the most consequential modern-era one-term U.S. President. The book is behind-the-scenes account of a president who always strove to do what he saw as the right thing, while often disregarding the political repercussions.


In 1923, Mary Pickford and hubby Douglas Fairbanks, along with the “Beverly Hills Eight” Harold Lloyd, Rudolph Valentino, Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Fred Neblo and Conrad Nagel,  eight stars of the silver screen leveraged their fame to campaign against the annexation of Beverly Hills, the young city they called home, to Los Angeles. Their campaign was a success, and politics in the U.S. would never be the same again.The Battle for Beverly Hills: A City's Independence and the Birth of Celebrity Politics by [Clare, Nancie] For them, Beverly Hills was a refuge from Los Angeles and its relentless press. Instead of the larger, institutionally corrupt police force, Beverly Hills had a smaller, separate constabulary that was less likely to work hand in glove with the studios and more willing to look the other way at violations of the Prohibition Act.  In The Battle for Beverly Hills (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99) Nancie Clare reveals how the stars battled to keep their city free from the clutches of a rapacious Los Angeles and lay the groundwork for celebrity influence and political power. With a nuanced eye and fantastic storytelling, Clare weaves an irresistible tale of glamour, fame, gossip, and politics.


 Adventures of a Young Naturalist–The Zoo Quest Expeditions (Quercus, $26.99) is the story of those voyages. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia, and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team contended with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines, and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. Don’t take our word for it: Says Barack Obama of Attenborough: “A great educator as well as a great naturalist.”


Charles Manson. Swastika carved into his forehead. What a fucking monster. In the late summer of 1969, he and “family” brutally slayed of a actress Sharon Tate—26 years old and eight months pregnant with her first child—as well as other victims, including a hair stylist, a coffee heiress and a businessman. After months of dead-ends, false leads and near-misses, Charles Manson and members of his “family” were arrested.9780718092085, Hunting Charles Manson : The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter, Lis Wiehl  Former federal prosecutor Lis Wiehl’s Hunting Charles Manson (Thomas Nelson, $26.99) is a historical thriller of the crimes and manhunt; in the process, she reveals how the social and political context that gave rise to Manson is eerily similar to our own.


Immortalized by Shakespeare as a hunchbacked murderer, Richard III is one of English history’s best known and least understood monarchs. In 2012 his skeleton was uncovered in a UK parking lot, reigniting debate about this divisive historical figure and sparked numerous articles, television programs and movies about his true character. Richard III: England's Most Controversial King by [Skidmore, Chris]In Richard III: England’s Most Controversial King (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)  acclaimed historian Chris Skidmore has written the authoritative biography of a man alternately praised as a saint and cursed as a villain. Was he really a power-crazed monster who killed his nephews, or the victim of the first political smear campaign conducted by the Tudors?


When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation. The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London. The Girl in the Ice (Grand Central Publishing; $12.99), Robert Bryndza’s  first book in the Detective Erika Foster series. Front CoverIn will take hold of you early on and won’t let up as the investigation ebbs and flows through suspects and suspense. The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong—resulting in the death of her husband—and with her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer begins closing in on her, but will she get to him before he strikes again?


Here,  first major biography of Tiger Woods—sweeping in scope and packed with groundbreaking, behind-the-scenes details of the Shakespearean rise and epic fall of an American icon. In 2009, Tiger Woods was the most famous athlete on the planet, a transcendent star of fame and fortune living what appeared to be the perfect life—married to a Swedish beauty, father of two young children, and at the peak of a brilliant athletic career. book coverWinner of 14 major golf championships and 79 PGA Tour events, Woods was the first billion-dollar athlete, earning more than $100 million a year in endorsements. But it was all a carefully crafted illusion. As it turned out, Woods had been living a double life for years—one that exploded in the aftermath of a Thanksgiving night crash that exposed his serial infidelity and sent his personal and professional life off a cliff. Tiger Woods (Simon & Schuster, $30) is based on three years of extensive research, and drawing on more than 400 interviews with people from every corner of Woods’s life.

Maxine Peake creates a Hamlet that is both timeless and unique for today

To be, or not to be: that is the question . . .
To be honest William Shakespeare’s most iconic work, Hamlet,is the ultimate play about loyalty, love, betrayal, murder and madness. Every production is defined by its lead actor. Or actress.

Save the date: On June 12, Omnibus Entertainment releases the DVD of a stripped back, fresh and fast-paced staging by Sarah Frankcom for Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in which Maxine Peake creates a Hamlet that is both timeless and unique for today. Though the part has a long history of being performed by women, Peake is the first female actor to be cast in a major production since Frances de la Tour assumed the role 40 years ago.
This above all: to thine own self be true.

You “auto” grab “Pontiac Trans Am” for the car connoisseur in your life?

Let us steer you to Pontiac Trans Am (Motorbooks, $40), a must-have tome that chronicles the car’s full history, from early days burning up both race tracks and Hollywood to its final days as the most potent muscle car made. Author Tom Glatch has done a revving good job.

The early ’60s saw American auto manufacturers desperately trying to sell cars to the emerging baby-boom market. Pontiac attained success with its original muscle car, the GTO, but as successful as the GTO was, it was handily outsold by Ford’s grand-slam home-run pony car, the Mustang. In response, Pontiac entered the pony car market in ’67 with its new Firebird, a model that became one of the most iconic cars of the classic muscle-car era.

Introduced for ’69, the Trans Am version Firebird became the standard bearer for automotive performance in the U.S. market and kept the muscle car flame alive throughout the dark years of the ’70s and led the charge when performance reemerged in the ’80s. When muscle cars became dormant for a generation it was once again the classic pony cars that jump started American performance.

The battle that raged between Firebird, Camaro and Mustang in the ’80s rejuvenated the U.S. auto industry’s interest in high-performance muscle cars and the Trans Am remained the most potent car of the lot until the bitter end. Pontiac Trans Am: 50 Years chronicles this ultimate version of the Firebird’s rich history, from the early attempts to reach the youth market in the early ’60s, through the potent and turbulent years of the classic muscle car era, the resurgence of muscle in the ’80s, to the car’s continued popularity in both the automotive world and in popular culture today.

Perhaps you ‘auto” grab one for the car connoisseur in your life?

A trio of Blu-rays that Arrow Video aims right at your heart

There’s something to be said about Arrow Video, who take aim at horror fans hearts and deliver the soul of some spooky stuff. New flicks that are must-see, must-own:

Death Smiles on a Murderer
A haunting and dreamlike gothic horror/giallo hybrid, Death Smiles on a Murderer is a compelling early work from the legendary sleaze and horror film director Joe D’Amato , here billed under his real name Aristide Massaccesi. Set in Austria in the early 1900s, the film stars Ewa Aulin as Greta, a beautiful young woman abused by her brother Franz (played by Luciano Rossi) and left to die in childbirth by her illicit lover, the aristocrat Dr. von Ravensbrück (Giacomo Rossi Stuart).
Death Smiles On A MurdererBereft with grief, Franz reanimates his dead sister using a formula engraved on an ancient Incan medallion. Greta then returns as an undead avenging angel, reaping revenge on the Ravensbrück family and her manically possessive brother. Presented here in a stunning 2K restoration, D’Amato’s film is a stately and surreal supernatural mystery which benefits from an achingly mournful score by Berto Pisano, several shocking scenes of gore, and a typically sinister performance from Klaus Kinski as a morbid doctor. Bonuses include D’Amato Smiles on Death, an archival interview in which the director discusses the film; All About Ewa, a newly-filmed, career-spanning interview with the Swedish star; Smiling on the Taboo: Sex, Death and Transgression in the horror films of Joe D’Amato, a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger and original trailers.

Two Thousand Maniacs
After shocking and outraging the world with his genre-defining 1963 gore-fest Blood Feast, exploitation pioneer H.G. Lewis would seek (and positively succeed) to outdo himself with the deliciously depraved Two Thousand Maniacs.
Two Thousand Maniacs!When a group of Yankee tourists take a detour and wind up in the small Southern town of Pleasant Valley—which has magically rematerialized 100 years after its destruction during the Civil War—they find themselves welcomed by the eager townsfolk as guests of honor at their centennial celebrations. Little do the Northerners know that the festivities are set to include torture, death and dismemberment. Also including H.G. Lewis’ fist fightin’, hooch-swillin’ epic Moonshine Mountain as a bonus feature, this is one double-dose of hicksploitation truly worthy of an almighty “Yeehah!” Bonuses include Herschell’s Art of Advertising in which H.G. Lewis shares his expert opinion on the art of selling movies; Two Thousand Maniacs Can’t be Wrong, in which filmmaker Tim Sullivan on H.G. Lewis’ gore classic and Hickspoitation: Confidential, a visual essay on the depiction of the American South in exploitation cinema.

The Bloodthirsty Trilogy
Inspired by the runaway success of the British and American gothic horror films of the ’60s, Toho Studios brought the vampiric tropes of the Dracula legend to Japanese screens with The Vampire Doll, Lake of Dracula and Evil of Dracula, a trio of spookily effective cult classics collectively known as The Bloodthirsty Trilogy. In The Vampire Doll, a young man goes missing after visiting his girlfriend’s isolated country home. His sister and her boyfriend trace him to the creepy mansion, but their search becomes perilous when they uncover a gruesome family history.
The Bloodthirsty TrilogyLake of Dracula begins with a young girl suffering a terrifying nightmare of a vampire with blazing golden eyes. Eighteen years later, the dream is revealed to be a hellish prophecy when a strange package containing an empty coffin mysteriously turns up at a nearby lake. In Evil of Dracula, a professor takes up a new post at an all-girls school only to discover the school’s principle conceals a dark secret and the pupils are in grave danger. Abounding with images of dark thunderous nights, ghostly mansions and bloody fangs, Michio Yamamoto’s trilogy emphasizes atmosphere and style and is sure to please both fans of classic gothic horror and Japanese genre cinema. Bonuses include newly translated English subtitles; Kim Newman on The Bloodthirsty Trilogy, a new video appraisal by the critic and writer; and reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Griffin.

Two must-see PBS programs: “GI Jews” and “Art of the Shine”

We are always gushing over programs, documentaries, shows, specials, films and mini-series that are released on Blu-ray and DVD by PBS Distribution. And with good reason. They are always riveting. Here are two that could easily fall through the cracks. Take note!

Through the eyes of servicemen and women, GI Jews: Jewish Americans in WWII brings to life the little-known story of Jews in World War II—as active participants in the fight against Hitler, bigotry and intolerance. These men and women were religious and secular, Zionists, socialists, even pacifists. Some had been in America for generations; others were recent immigrants, with close family members left behind in Hitler’s Europe. Their extraordinary experiences are at the heart of the film, telling the story of World War II from a uniquely Jewish perspective.

Like all Americans, they fought against fascism, but they also fought a more personal fight– to save their brethren in Europe. In the midst of it all, they battled anti-Semitism within the ranks of the U.S. military, facing slurs and violence from their fellow servicemen. In the end, the story of the Jewish GIs is the story of becoming American; the story of immigrants who earned their citizenship by shedding blood and fought for democracy and tolerance abroad and at home.

Meet the men and women who make their living cleaning our shoes. From the brash street shiners of New York City, to the masked shoe shine boys of La Paz, this program takes viewers around the world to give viewers an insider’s perspective of this overlooked profession. The Art of the Shine introduces the people who do this job and the chance to see the world through their eyes.

Viewers discover that despite being literally and figuratively “looked down upon” by society, shoe shiners universally take great pride in their work. They like the freedom that comes with being their own bosses and enjoy interacting with customers who always walk away happy. People around the world have turned to shoe shining to provide for themselves and their families. These are their stories. Step into their world. You’ll never look at a shoe shiner the same way again.

“Man in an Orange Shirt” is a critically-acclaimed film that portrays a pair of love stories, 60 years apart,

The plot opens on the Italian front near the end of World War II. British Captain Michael Berryman saves the life of a wounded fellow officer and recognizes him as Thomas March, an old schoolmate, now serving as an official war artist. Though engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Flora, Michael feels a powerful attraction to Thomas, who feels the same way. After the artist’s recuperation, the two share a brief, passionate encounter before parting.

With the war over, Michael looks up Thomas in London, and they spend a liberating, amorous weekend at Michael’s rundown country cottage. There, Thomas sketches Michael for a painting that will become “Man in an Orange Shirt.” In an era when homosexuality in England was punished by prison, there is no hope of living together. Furthermore, Michael feels honor-bound to marry Flora, and he asks Thomas to be his best man. This sets the stage for a turbulent marriage, not least because Flora suspects nothing about her fiancé’s sexual preference.

The second half of the drama skips two generations to the present day. Michael and Thomas have died, and Flora keeps house with her grandson, Adam, a young veterinarian active in London’s gay hookup scene—a subject Flora carefully avoids.

Into Adam’s restless life comes Steve, an architect eager for a stable relationship and intrigued by the challenge of fixing up the cottage that Adam has been given by Flora—the same place where Michael and Thomas spent their idyllic weekend six decades earlier. The times change, the laws change, the technology changes (as illustrated by Adam’s addiction to dating apps), but the problem of love, commitment, and acceptance is as persistent and formidable as ever.

It’s not just Adam and Steve who face this dilemma. Flora, too, has unfinished business with the past.

Such is the wonder of MASTERPIECE: Man in an Orange Shirt (PBS Distribution), a critically-acclaimed film that portrays a pair of love stories, 60 years apart, linked by family ties, sexual identity, and a mysterious painting. It will be available on DVD and Blu-ray June 19; The program will also be available for digital download.

Scripted by bestselling novelist Patrick Gale, the film was a two-part original drama which formed part of the BBC’s Gay Britannia season. Man in the Orange Shirt was broadcast to wide critical acclaim in the UK in 2017 for the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality.

Playing the star-crossed lovers are Oliver Jackson-Cohen, James McArdle, Julian Morris and David Gyasi. Joining Vanessa Redgrave are Joanna Vanderham, Laura Carmichael, Julian Sands, Frances de la Tour, Adrian Schiller and Joanna David.

Whoever knew road trips could be so funny and filthy? Welcome to “Frat Pack”

You’re invited to an insane wedding, a decadent frat party and a filthy, funny, 700-mile road trip. Since we love road trips, truly, we tagged along. That’s why we love Frat Pack, the wildly hilarious and raunchy flick, arriving on DVD, Digital, and On Demand June 19 from Lionsgate.

When Moira (portrayed by Beverly D’Angelo) decides to marry into a larger-than-life American family, her son, Elliot (Richard Alan Reid), is dragged on a road trip across the country with his soon-to-be stepbrothers for an epic alumni-weekend fraternity rager. The out-of-control comedy also stars Danny Trejo, Lochlyn Munro and Hana Mae Lee.  On the road, the gang meets drug dealers, tattoo artists, snooty clerks, and party gals who don’t act like ladies. All the while, Elliot’s dying to make a pass at sweet, sensible neighbor Skylar—but will he pass out instead?

The world of a college professor spins out of control in “Spinning Man”

When a 17-year-old girl goes missing, family man and distinguished college professor Evan Birch’s (portrayed by Guy Pearce) life is turned upside down as circumstantial evidence convinces gruff Detective Malloy (Pierce Brosnan) that Birch is a prime suspect. As Malloy begins to peel back the layers of Birch’s past indiscretions with female students, and Birch’s wife (Minnie Driver) begins to question his alibi, Birch’s life starts to unravel, and suddenly the questions that he faces aren’t merely academic—they’re a matter of life and death.

Welcome to Spinning Man. The  riveting thriller, based on the book of the same name by George Harrar and written for the screen by Matthew Aldrich, arrives on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD, and Digital June 12 from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand.

Petrucelli Picks the best in books, music and film . . . and then some