Wednesday, December 26, 2012

VCI Entertainment Expands February Product Line Up

VCI Entertainment has added two addition DVD release waves for the month of February.  
Already in place on Feb. 5 are the special edition release of iconic filmmaker Sam Peckinpah’s Dead Companions: The Cary Roan Signature Edition, plus the seven animated story collection titled Children's Heroes of the Bible: New Testament and yjr comedy double-features of Norman Wisdom: Double Feature, Volume 2 and Will Hay: Double Feature, Volume 2.

Now comes the Feb. 12 DVD release of the animated adventure stories for children with a Christian theme titled Christian Cowboy Double Feature.  

Priced at just $9.99 are two separate tales from the Old West — Danger on the Pioneer Express (Brent Towers, the Christian Cowboy, and his two young friends race to stop a plot to derail the Pioneer Express) and Bedrock Valley Gang (Brent returns to crack the case of a mysterious cattle disease that is being used to “rustle” cattle on the cheap).

Also on Feb. 12 is director Harold Schuster’s 1958 film, The Power of the Resurrection, starring Jon Shepodd at Jesus, with two-time Golden Globe and three-time Emmy-winner Richard Kiley as Peter.
The following week, Feb. 19, VCI Entertainment returns with six addition DVD product offerings, including in this next wave of selections are Brit comedians Will Hay and Norman Wisdom, plus four feature-length Bible-themed films.   

First up is Will Hay in the DVD release of Will Hay: Double Feature, Volume 3, which includes Oh, Mister Porter (1937, with Hay as an inept railway station manager who still finds a way to save the day) and Convict 99 (from 1938, with Hay mistaken for a tough-as-nails prison warden, who ends up running a prison for the worst of the worst … they don’t know what they are in for!!!).

To the post-war period we have Norman Wisdom: Double Feature, Volume 3.  Included in this volume are Just My Luck (1957, with Jill Dixon and a brief appearance by Margaret Rutherford … a lovelorn Wisdom hits it big at the race, but collecting might be a horse of a different color) and The Square Peg (1958, with Honor Blackman and Edward Chapman … Wisdom is accidently drafted, parachuted into Nazi Germany and then comes up with a brilliant plan to escape).

The four biblical epics included in the Feb. 19 release mix are: Great Leaders of the Bible (1965, starring Fernando Rey), Jacob: The Man Who Forgot God (1963, with Judy Parker and Giorgio Cerioni), Joseph and His Brethren (1962, with a cast that includes Robert Morley, Belinda Lee, Terence Hill and Geoffrey Horne as Joseph) and Saul and David (1964, Norman Wooland as Saul, with Gianni Garko as David). 

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Breaking Glass Pictures' Madrid, 1987 Debuts on DVD on Feb. 26

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Breaking Glass Pictures announced this past week that writer/director David Trueba’s 2012 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize finalist, Madrid, 1987, will making its domestic DVD debut on Feb. 26.

The bon mots come flying in from all directions as legendary Spanish film and theatre actor José Sacristán is given free reign in what is essentially a two-person stage play written directly for the screen.   

The set-up is fairly straight forward, Sacristán plays a veteran journalist named Miguel who meets up with an eager young student named Angela (María Valverde) with the intension of dazzling her with his presence; his fame; his wisdom … and then seduce her.

Step one is accomplished with her willingness to move from his “office” at the local café to the nearby apartment of a friend.   It’s a nice little place, but Miguel’s accommodating friend left out one little bit of advice in using the would-be love nest, which becomes the centerpiece of the film when “step two” (the seduction) goes badly.

A naked Angela retreats to the bathroom and is pursued by the equally naked Miguel, the door is shut and the two find themselves locked in.   That was the little detail that was left out … don’t shut the door to the bathroom!

As Sacristán serves up insights, opinions and witticisms in a rat-a-tat-tat manner, Angela is left to ponder an escape.   He keeps his eye on the ultimate goal, which is tantalizingly close, but he too begins to yearn for his creature comforts. 

Madrid, 1987 is a delightful dance!   A fun and unique comedy that is carried by its two participants … yes, Angela does get her licks in too!

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Well Go U.S.A.'s The Thieves on Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
South Korea has put out some amazing films (The Warrior, Front Line, Brotherhood of War, My WayOld Boy, anyone?) but a new one has them all beat when it comes to the box office.

The Thieves became Korea’s highest-grossing movie in history, selling more than 10 million tickets in its first three weeks, half a million of those during its first day.  By the time it exited theaters last fall, more than 13 million tickets for the film had been sold.

Well Go U.S.A. streets The Thieves on DVD and Blu-ray on Feb. 12.  The ARR works out to 123 days and the domestic box office take for the film’s limited major metro run was a nice $681,594. 

Director Dong-hoo Choi (Woochi, The Big Swindle) takes heist films to another level, following five top-notch thieves planning a major casino robbery, with the “Tear of the Sun” (a $20 million, 318-carat diamond) being the ultimate prize.  An impenetrable vault, too many cops to count and no trust among each other combine for a wild ride.

Bonus feature include two featurettes — “Meet The Thieves” and “The Making of The Thieves.” 

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Criterion Collection Sets March Release Package

DVD & Blu-ray Release ReportThe Criterion Collection, with sales and distribution support provided by Image Entertainment, announced a six-strong slate of new Blu-ray and DVD film product offerings for the month of March this past week.

As with all of Criterion’s eclectic monthly product selections, the front-runner is always a matter of personal taste.  With that said, one would be relatively safe is selecting the Blu-ray and DVD debut of filmmaker Fritz Lang’s 1944 film noir thriller, Ministry of Fear, as the one selection that the majority of film affectionados will be looking forward to.  Street date is Mar. 12.

Ray Milland is the least likely to be believed when he uncovers, quite by accident, what he believes to be a nest of Nazi spies.   After all, he just got out of mental hospital, so who in authority is going to believe him?   

That lack of creditability only adds to his own panic and confusion … why is the blind man on the train trying to kill me over a slice of cake?   Nevertheless, Ministry of Fear works both as a film noir and as a straight wartime thriller … but for it to have been a real “super nova” film noir — one that would have just knocked your socks — Lang needed to have Carla (Marjorie Reynolds) double cross Milland in the big showdown! 

The only bonus nugget is a newly minted video interview with Fritz Lang scholar Joe McElhaney (“The Death of Classical Cinema,” “Vincente Minnelli: The Art of Entertainment,” etc.).

Also streeting on Mar. 12 is a Blu-ray edition of the Steve McQueen sci-fi gem from 1958, The Blob.  Bonuses include two commentary options — one with producer Jack H. Harris and film historian Bruce Eder; the second teams director Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. with actor Robert Fields (as Tony) — and a collection of a stills, posters, etc. in a featurette titled “Blobabilia!”

Director Terrence Malick’s 1973 film, Badlands, teaming Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek  — “inspired” by the life of notorious spree killer Charles Starkweather and his 14 year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate — has been restored for a Blu-ray and DVD push on Mar. 19.

There’s a new documentary on the making of the film included as a bonus nugget, plus there are a pair of newly prepared video interviews with film editor Billy Weber and producer Edward Pressman.

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Also on Mar. 19 are Blu-ray and DVD (a double-disc set) editions of The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp.   Bonuses include commentary from director Michael Powell, who is joined by auteur Martin Scorsese, plus Scorsese hosts a restoration demonstration.

The last street-date Tuesday of the month, Mar. 26, sees Blu-ray and DVD editions of French filmmaker Robert Bresson’s 1956 World War II prison escape thriller, A Man Escaped, starring François Leterrier as the man with the plan.  Bonuses here include a 45-minute documentary titled “The Essence of Forms.”

Also heading home on Mar. 26 are Blu-ray and DVD editions of the new film restoration for Charlie Chaplin’s 1947 film, Monsieur Verdoux.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Monday, December 24, 2012

Green Apple Entertainment's Spirit of the Church debuts Feb. 5

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Green Apple Entertainment will be launching a 12-volume DVD collection of gospel music presentations drawn from with the legendary TV Gospel Time series nationally that was broadcast nationally on Sunday mornings during the mid-1960s.   The first installment is due at retail on Feb. 5 and titled Spirit of the Church: A Celebration of Black Gospel Music, Volume One.

In this first edition of the series, four complete broadcasts are included showcasing the singing talents of such greats as Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers, Brother Joe May, Marie Knight and Inez Andrews.  

Plus there are two bonus performances from Mahalia Jackson … and all of the vintage television commercials from the period are included in the presentation.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Paramount's Paranormal Acitivity 4 Arrives On Jan. 29

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
There is that scene from Apocalypse Now when Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) strides boldly along the beach — seemingly oblivious to the incoming mortar fire — and says, “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.”   

He rambles on for a bit, then hits us with “Smelled like victory.”  Perfect.

The same holds true for film franchises, in a metaphorical sense, they “smell like victory.”  The studio brass love that smell of Napalm in the morning when those box office grosses come rolling in for their latest “carpet-bombed” theatrical rollout (3,000 screens and more).  There is that certain “aroma of success” from the latest installment in a carefully nurtured set of film sequels.  

Such is the case with Paramount Home Media Distribution’s Jan. 29 DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with UltraViolet) of the directing team of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman’s Paranormal Activity 4.   Victory in every sense of the word!

This “haunted house” film franchise has quickly become an annual Halloween event.  The trick is sustaining it … being creative; new twists and turns.  With Paranormal Activity 4, the filmmakers did just that with new characters (plus a visit from old “friend” … or is that “fiend?”) and plenty of new creepy goings-on.  

With a domestic box office take of $53.8 million, the odds favor a fifth installment or some creative spin-off that pretty much acts as a fifth film entry in the series by Halloween of next year.  Bet on it!
In the meantime, the Jan. 29 home entertainment release date for Paranormal Activity 4 yields an ARR that works out to 102 days. 

Fans of the series will have a choice of either the R-rated theatrical release or an uncut version of the film as viewing options — that’s for both the DVD and the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.  Exclusive to the Blu-ray SKU is 30 minutes of “found footage” presented as “The Recovered Files.”

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Warner Home Video Says Feb. 19 For Ben Affleck's Argo

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Is Ben Affleck the next Clint Eastwood?   That would be an actor who learns the art of filmmaking from the inside out and in the process develops an extraordinary talent to craft both commercial and compelling films.

With Argo, due out from Warner Home Video on Feb. 19 as DVD and Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack product offerings (both featuring UltraViolet), it appears that Affleck has moved several steps closer to being the next Eastwood, especially for Warner Bros., a studio that loves to have long-term filmmaking relationships.   

And, with that street date, the home entertainment division is planning for Oscar activities to give this film quite the jolt … the gold is handed out on Feb. 24.  Timing is spot-on.

For the record, the ARR works out to 130 days and the box office take was a solid $105 million (and still growing).

Two things.  First, Argo is an absolute lock for a Best Picture nomination.  There are four of these this year — Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Les Miserables.  Any other film(s) nominated would just be there to fill out the field.  

Even Lincoln is suspect in winning Best Picture.   But, Daniel Day Lewis can make room on his mantle for an Oscar right now — for those in Oscar pools that pick will be circled on every entry card.   If President Lincoln had the instrument at his disposal he could phone it in … telegraph — tap, tap, tap — will have to do.

Second, what makes Affleck’s Argo so impressive is that he’s basically taken the “passion play” motif and made it compelling.  

You can’t make a film about Jesus without hitting all the right marks — the 12 Disciples don’t suddenly ride to his rescue.  You know the outcome from the get-go.

Ditto for Romeo and Juliet.   They do this, they say that, they die tragically.   That’s the way it is … how you get there (in filmmaking) is the trick.

With Argo, Affleck and first time screenwriter Chris Terrio are saddle with a story that has an absolute finish, with all of the details in between firmly established.   It begins on Nov. 4, 1979 with the U.S. Embassy in Tehran being stormed and hostages taken, with the exception of six who managed to make it to a tenuous sanctuary at the home of the Canadian ambassador.   On Jan. 27, 1980 the six boarded a flight out of Tehran (with Canadian passports in hand) and successfully evaded captured.   

How they did it — how they got out undetected — is the trick to making the film work.  You have to tell it straight, no shootouts, car chases or loud Hollywood-style explosions with half the city of Tehran going up in flames.   This happened, that happened, they got out … end of story.  Ben Affleck nailed it.  Period.

As to bonus goodies included in the home entertainment releases.   The DVD edition is limited to the featurette titled “Rescued from Tehran: We Were There.”   

The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack has that same featurette, plus four additional features — including one titled “Argo: Absolute Authenticity” — commentary by director Ben Affleck and the “Picture in Picture: Eye Witness Account” viewing option.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Friday, December 21, 2012

Team Marketing Preps Blu-ray/DVD Combos Of BCS Bowl Games For Feb. 26

Team Marketing, with their annual BCS Bowl Game series, takes it up a notch on Feb. 26 with Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs (with Digital Copy) for this year’s match ups.

Leading the parade (well, of course, depending on your favorite team) is the 2013 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl teaming legendary coach Bill Synder’s feisty K-State Wildcats — with their Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein — against the Oregon Ducks and their Heisman finalist Kenjon Barner.

Other Blu-ray/DVD Combo Packs included in the mix are: 2013 Discover BSC National Championship (Alabama vs. Notre Dame), 2013 AT&T Cotton Bowl (Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma), 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl (Florida vs. Louisville), (Florida State vs. Northern Illinois) and the 2013 Rose Bowl Presented by Vizio (Stanford vs. Wisconsin).
To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Monday, December 17, 2012

Paramount Home Media Distribution's Top Gun 3D Blu-ray Set For Feb. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Paramount Home Media Distribution will be flying on Feb. 19 with a newly minted edition of director Tony Scott’s 1986 smash Top Gun on Blu-ray.  Not just any Blu-ray, but a 3D presentation of the Tom Cruise action flick — it will also be making an IMAX theatrical debut as a 3D presentation nationwide on Feb. 8, so the buzz should be good for retail action.

According to Paramount, the film was re-mastered from the original negative scans and then converted to 3D under the direct supervision of the late Tony Scott.

The two-disc Blu-ray SKU (with UltraViolet) will feature both 3D and 2D presentations, with bonus goodies that include commentary from filmmaker Tony Scott, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and co-writer Jack Epps, Jr., a six-part documentary on the film’s production, four music video, a pair of featurettes and an interview with Tom Cruise.

In other release news this week, look for the Comedy Central DVD presentation of Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore to also street on Feb. 19.

DVD & Blu-ray Release ReportThis is her first stand up special, which was taped live this past June at the legendary Fillmore in San Franscisco.  Between regular stints on the Daily Show as a “special correspondent,” a hectic stand up comedy schedule, movie appearances and voice work … you have to wonder when she finds time to sleep.   

For fans, the DVD release Kristen Schaal: Live at the Fillmore is welcome news … it arrives uncensored and with extra material not included in the Comedy Central cable presentation.

Not done yet!   On Mar. 12 a fully restored presentation of director Cecil B. DeMille’s 1949 Technicolor biblical epic, Samson and Delilah — starring Victor Mature and Hedy Lamarr — will be making its long-awaited debut on DVD.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Mill Creek Entertainment's Massive Feb. 19 Release Package

Mill Creek Entertainment reveals plans this past week for a massive priced-to-sell DVD release slate that is primed for delivery to retail on Feb. 19.   

The 18-SKU onslaught is a blend of theatrical releases and kidvid product offerings — nothing priced above $12.98, with most priced at just $9.98. 

For starters there are a total of ten different triple features (double-disc SKUs) containing such combinations as writer/director Stephen Sommers’ Deep Rising (1998, Treat Williams, Kevin J. O’Connor and Famke Janssen), The Puppet Masters (1994, Donald Sutherland) and The Minion (1998, Dolph Lundgren) or the comedy triple-bill of It's Pat (1994, Julia Sweeny), Cabin Boy (also 1994, Chris Elliot), Frank McKlusky, C.I. (2002, Dave Sheridan).

See page 12 of this week’s edition of the DVD & Blu-ray Release Report for a complete listing of all of the Mill Creek Entertainment three-film sets heading home on Feb. 19.  Link to Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

On the kidvid front there are seven different SKUs to select from, including the three-disc, 32-episode animated series, Beverly Hills Teens, Volume One, the four-disc collection of The Wacky World of Tex Avery, Volume One (40 animated episodes) and Street Sharks: The Complete Series (a four-disc collection featuring all 40 episodes).

And lastly there is the bargain priced (just $9.98) three-disc set titled 12 Family Movie Favorites.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Universal Studios Home Entertainment's Silent Hill: Revelation on Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
It has been six years since the film adaptation of the video game, Silent Hill, made a nice splash theatrically.  We had expected a sequel sooner … it finally arrived this year from writer/director Michael J. Bassett as a 3D film release titled Silent Hill: Revelation.  

Universal Studios Home Entertainment will be moving it to the home entertainment arena on Feb. 12 as a three-SKU release — DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and 3D/2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (all sporting UltraViolet).  

The ARR is 109 days and the box office take was a little light at just $17.5 million.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Gun Hill Road From Virgil Films & Entertainment, Mar. 5

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Writer/director Rashaad Ernesto Green’s award-winning drama about life — dealing with what life throws your way — in the Bronx, Gun Hill Road, will be making its DVD debut on Mar. 5 courtesy of Virgil Films & Entertainment.   

The ARR is a leisurely 578 days and the box office take in the film’s limited run was $148,994.

Enrique (Esai Morales — La Bamba, plus numerous TV series … NYPD Blue, Vanished, Jericho, Fairly Legal, etc.) is fresh from a three-year jolt in prison and back home in the Bronx.  Life there would be tough enough, but he soon learns that his wife (Judy Reyes — Scrubs) is having an affair … and, worst yet, for a tough-as-nails felon it comes as quite a jolt that his teenage son, Michael (played brilliantly by Harmony Santana), is a blossoming transgender and into crossdressing. 

Filmmaker Green could have taken the film in a number of directions.   Salacious, brutal, depressing … it is a long list of choices.   Instead he elected to focus on the relationship between the father and son, which makes for a compelling film (hence the festival awards and recognition).

It comes as no surprise that Enrique’s first reaction is to “correct” Michael’s behavior, which pretty much means molding him into a junior version of himself.  Its only when he realizes that his life isn’t all that great that he begins to accept his son for who he is … it is not an easy path.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Well Go U.S.A.'s Dangerous Liaisons Debuts Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
A Korean filmmaker, an 18th century French novelist and the intrigue of Shanghai all come together in Well Go U.S.A.’s Feb. 12 DVD and Blu-ray release of Dangerous Liaisons.

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 1782 work, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, has been brought to the screen several times, including director Stephen Frears lavish 1988 film interpretation with Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer.   

Then there was Milos Forman’s Valmont (1999) and who could forget Roger Vadim’s 1959 Les Liaisons Dangereuses and its vision of post-war France as the battleground for the infamous games of sexual intrigues (starring Jeanne Moreau, Gérard Philipe and Annette Vadim).   

For director Jin-Ho Hur (April Snow, Happiness, Christmas in August, etc.) the setting is — and in many ways very appropriate — 1931 Shanghai.   A corrupt China, the storm clouds of war with Japan rumbling in the distance and the “Paris of the East” filled with the tensions of money, sex and power.  Perfect!

This magnificently mounted production showcases the extraordinary talents of Cecilia Cheung (Lost in Time, Fly Me to Polaris, etc.), Jang Dong-gun (My Way, Friend, The Promise) and Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Memoirs of a Geisha, etc.) in the pivotal roles made famous over 200 years ago.  Some new twists and adapted for the period, but the game is the same!

Presented Mandarin, with English subtitles, bonus features include two featurettes — “The Making of Dangerous Liaisons” and “Behind the Scenes.”

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Midnight Releasing's New Order Debuts Feb. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Midnight Releasing has screen legend Franco Nero — Django himself, no less — ready for some post-apocalyptic action on Feb. 19 in writer /director Marco Rosson’s sci-fi thriller, New Order.

Twenty years in the future we find a bleak world where 90 percent of the population has been killed off by a viral plague … they were the lucky ones.   What remains are devastated cities and a plague that continues unabated with no cure in sight.

But there is hope!   Dr. Van Morgen (Franco Nero) has taken over the research of his colleagues, who may (or may not) have been close to discovering a cure before they went comatose.  To move things along, he recruits five survivors who appear to be immune to the virus … his hope is that they will be the final piece to the puzzle.

If you are a genre fan, your knee-jerk reaction to this set up is that these five are just victims being stashed away at a remote cabin for zombie hoards (or cannibals; rogue bikers; inbred hillbillies … take your pick) to attack and in the process wipe out mankind’s only hope for salvation.

But Rosson throws us a curve in his debut outing as feature film director with an even more difficult puzzle for Van Morgen to solve.   His test subjects are starting to go insane!!   Is the cure worst that plague itself?

Bonus features on the DVD release of New Order include deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes production featurette.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Image Entertainment's 24-Hour Love Debuts Mar. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
The 12th Annual Hollywood Black Film Festival concluded its four days of film screenings (39 films in all) at the end of October with the honor of the closing night selection being that of actor-turned-director Fred Thomas Jr.’s 24-Hour Love.

In his directorial debut, Thomas deftly juggles seven stories of love and relationships, complete with a range of emotions that run the gamut from joy and laughter to drama and pain … love is, as his stellar cast discover in their various relationships, more than just romance.

Included in the ensemble cast are Malinda Williams, Lynn Whitfield, Tatyana Ali, Keith Robinson, Eva Marcille, Flex Alexander and Chico Benymon.

Image Entertainment has selected Mar. 19 as the DVD debut date for 24-Hour Love.

In other release news from Image this week, director Andrew Weiner’s The Frankenstein Theory will be heading to DVD on Mar. 26.

In an interesting twist on Mary Shelley’s classic horror tale, a group of academics head off to frozen wastelands of the Arctic to investigate — and document — the possibility that her literary creation was based on fact.   They soon discover that some tales of horror are best left at that, just stories to be read … not experienced first hand!

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Breaking Glass Pictures' Out In The Open, Jan. 29

Actor-turned-documentary filmmaker Matt Smith has assembled an impressive line-up of actors, sports personalities, politicians and just everyday people for his insightful film about “coming out,” Out in the Open.   

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report, Ralph TribbeyBreaking Glass Pictures has selected Jan. 29 as the DVD release date.

Included in the mix of people — both gay and straight — discussing their lives and the impact of sexual identity issues are the likes of Josh Strickland, Greg Louganis, Keaton Simons, Cassandra Church, Carson Kressley and tough guy Eric Roberts, who is joined by his wife Eliza (Garrett) Roberts for a candid session about their daughter.

Bonus goodies included on the DVD release of Out in the Open include a pair of production featurettes — “Lifeworks” and “OutSet Sizzle” — a blooper reel, photo gallery and extended interviews.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Monday, December 10, 2012

VCI Entertainment Sets Four For Feb. 5

VCI Entertainment announced its first wave of February new product offerings this past week — a four-SKU selection of DVD releases that are set to street on Feb. 5.

Topping the list is iconic filmmaker Sam Peckinpah’s debut theatrical release, the 1961 Western, The Deadly Companions.   The restoration from VCI Entertainment presents the film for the first time in its proper theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

There are also two new volumes of Brit comedy starring pre-war and post-war giants, Will Hay and Norman Wisdom.   The early works of Will Hay are showcased in Will Hay: Double Feature, Volume 2, which teams Windbag the Sailor (1936) with Good Morning, Boys (1937).

Included in Norman Wisdom: Double Feature, Volume 2 are: Man of the Moment (1955) and Up in the World (1956).

Rounding out the Feb. 5 release package is the animated DVD release of Children's Heroes of the Bible: New Testament — a collection of different seven stories.

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

All Screwed Up From Indican Pictures, Feb. 12

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
High school years can be heaven or hell.  Hormones raging, clicks forming and the last years of absolute freedom before decisions must be made and all those things that follow … career, family and, well, life in general sort of just sort happen.

In Neil Stephens’ comedy, All Screwed Up — due out on DVD from Indican Pictures on Feb. 12 — the current high school year for two mismatched teens, Teenisha (Chyna Layne — Precious, Deceptz, The Eddie Black Story) and Pete (Jake Waldman), could be a real life changer.  No wait, it is a real life changer!!!

Teenisha is black … shy, an outcast and if awards were given out for being the most unorganized student in school, she would win hands down.  

Pete is white and if you pick a sport, he’s the star of it, especially basketball.  College is in the bag, he dates a beauty queen and everything in his life is organized. 
Absolute opposites.  So what happens when a Namibian Elephant Beetle gets loose and bites them both?  That’s right, it’s their own “freaky” Friday as their souls are magically switched.  White/black; male/female … everything is upside down!   

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Inventory of New Theatrical Releases With a Box Office Gross of at Least $25 Million

Calendar of $25 Million-Plus Theatrical Releases as of December 10, 2012


To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report: DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Kino Lorber Sets February Release Package

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Kino Lorber steps up in February with a nifty blend of foreign language arthouse imports and a heart-pounding array of horror entries that will certainly please genre connoisseurs.

First up, the arthouse entries that will be making their domestic debuts on DVD.   We begin with the Feb. 5 arrival of American filmmaker Chris Smith’s Hindi-language import, The Pool.

The ARR is a long-in-the-tooth 1,614 days and the domestic box office take from the film’s limited arthouse run was $94,901.

The story, although set in the Goa region of India and presented in Hindi, could be from pretty much anywhere.  The fact that an American writer/director, known for his documentaries (The Yes Men, American Movie, etc.), made the film says as much.  

It’s about class, education, status and the hustle.  How far can ambition and street smarts take you … and where is that point where the “stink” of the street defines just how far you can go? 

In a documentary-like presentation, with characters seemingly playing themselves, we are introduced to Venkatesh (Venkatesh Chavan), a smart, but uneducated jack-of-all-trades worker at a local hotel who becomes enamored with the glistening swimming pool of a wealthy neighbor.   Step by step he ingratiates himself to the owner of the walled-off household, beginning as an unpaid helper, then gardener and more … but how far can he go?   

A beautiful, even lyrical film; a study in contrasts … fascinating and long overdue for a home entertainment release.
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

On Feb. 19 look for a truly one of a kind Russian-language import, director Valery Todorovsky’s Hipsters.   A musical drama set during the 1950s that explores a little known jazz-inspired counter culture that not so much flourished, but managed to eek out a survival in the cold, one-size-fits-all dreariness of the Soviet Union.

You have to think in terms of Martians trying to mimic life in the United States, but with garbled transmissions and incomplete data.  The result for these “aliens” proves to be an eclectic mix of bouffant hairstyles, wildly colored clothing (imagine: thrift store rejects) and saxophones.  

The following week, Feb. 26, the arthouse selections conclude with documentary filmmaker Sophie Fiennes’ Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow.   This oddly-structured film mirrors, in many ways, the other-worldly life — and artistry — of performance artist Anselm Kiefer.   We get a first-hand tour of his studio — an art project onto itself — in the south of France (Barjac) and get to observe, if not “know,” the artist himself.

The ARR is 564 days and the box office take during the film’s limited domestic run was $44,264.
The other side of the February release coin from Kino Lorber is dedicated to all things horror.
Feb. 12 marks the arrival of four Blu-ray SKUs showcasing the work of Brit filmmaker Pete Walker.  

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Susan George stars in Die Screaming, Marianne
We kick off the hi-def parade with the 1971 Susan George flick, Die Screaming, Marianne, filmed before she hit it big the same year with Straw Dogs.  Walker did this one on the cheap — not his best work, but over the years it has gained a certain cult status.  

Kino Lorber has remastered it for the Blu-ray launch, plus there is commentary from Walker, who is joined by film critic and author Jonathan Rigby (“English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema,” etc.) and there is also a featurette titled, “Pete Walker: An Eye for Terror.”

By 1974 he had hit his stride with House of Whipcord, which is a curious blend of women in prison elements and torture for torture’s sake — it’s almost as if the script was written with the thought in mind to see what creepy things they could come up with to do this young woman and the next.   Sadistic, in a word.

House of Whipcord arrived domestically at the height of the Brit anthology horror craze of the early 1970s (Asylum, Tales from the Crypt, The House That Dripped Blood, etc.) and has everything in it that genre fans expect from films released during this period.

Bonus features include the featurette titled “Perversions of Justice” and commentary from Walker, who is joined by the director of photography, Peter Jessop.

The third film from Pete Walker making the transition to Blu-ray is the 1976 film release of Schizo (1977 domestically), a “slasher” flick starring Lynne Frederick (Phase IV, No Blade of Grass, Vampire Circus).

Bonus features include an interview with Walker and the featurette titled “My Sweet Schizo.”
Last in the mix is The Comeback, a 1978 haunted house thriller starring Grammy-winning singer Jack Jones as a down-on-his-luck singer (typecasting) who is being haunted by visions of his dead ex-wife. 
DVD & Blu-ray Release Report

Bonuses here include commentary from Walker and the featurette titled “Slasher Serenade.”
On Feb. 26 Kino Lorber will be delivering Blu-ray and DVD editions of two films from cult horror filmmakers Jesus Franco and Jean Rollin — Oasis of the Zombies (Jesus Franco directing, 1982) and Zombie Lake (Jean Rollin directing; Jesus Franco script, 1981).

And last, but certainly not least, is the Feb. 12 three-disc, triple feature set titled: Satanic Sluts Collection.  Included are: Satanic Sluts: The Black Order Cometh, Satanic Sluts II: The Black Masses and Satanic Sluts III: Scandalized … all from the demented mind of writer/director Nigel Wingrove (Visions of Ecstasy, Sacred Flesh, Axel, etc.).

To download this week's complete edition of the DVD and Blu-ray Release Report:  DVD & Blu-ray Release Report