Monday, January 7, 2013

Kino Lorber Preps Busy March Release Package

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Kino Lorber has set an interesting mix of DVD and Blu-ray product offerings for the month of March.   And counted among the listings is one film that is — by any standard — certainly more “interesting” than most.

It is listed as a documentary, but Kumaré — starring and directed by Vikram Gandhi (aka Sri Kumaré) — is more of a “performance” film than anything else.  The DVD streets on Mar. 12 … the ARR works out to 263 days and the box office take was $129,552.

We are in on the premise; the MacGuffin of the film — can’t really use the words “gag” or “joke” — from the get-go.   Vikram Gandhi is a New Jersey native with roots in India and for reasons that are a bit unclear, but seem to make some sense (within the context of the film itself), he sets out to make a documentary about yogis, mystics and gurus and their ability to building followings … cults.

He grows out his beard, adopts the mannerism, the accent and the attire of any self-respecting guru from India and descends upon the unsuspecting in Arizona (filmed in and around the Phoenix area) to gather his flock.   It’s a con job.  He tells the yoga classes that everything he is teaching them is an illusion, but still they come.

In terms of the film experience, Sri Kumaré the guru; the yogi is like Chance Gardner (Peter Sellars) in Being There … “Yes! There will be growth in the spring!”  They listen, they follow, they believe, because they need to believe in something.   

He’s like Forrest Gump, running and running and running and pretty soon he has a whole flock of people running behind him … they too needed to believe in something.  Harold Hill has arrived in River City!

The trick to the film, and you have to give Vikram Gandhi credit for pulling it off, is how he builds the tension as to when he will let the cat of the bag.   He’s not out to harm anyone, but his little film prank has earned him not so much followers, but friends, and hurting them is not what he ever intended.

Elsewhere on the Kino Lorber release schedule in March (in chronological order) are:  Mar. 5, DVD and Blu-ray editions of the 1927 Buster Keaton comedy classic, College: Ultimate Edition.  

Bonus nuggets include commentary from film historian Rob Farr, a 1966 short film, The Scribe (Keaton’s final film) and a “visual essay” on the filming locations for College.

Also streeting on Mar. 5 is documentary filmmaking team of Paul Lovelace and Jessica Wolfson’s Radio Unnamable, a look at the life and times of free spirit and radio broadcast legend, Bob Fass.

The ARR is 165 days and the limited arthouse showcase generated $19,498 in ticket sales.

Shifting to Mar. 12, in addition to Kumaré, Kino Lorber has documentary filmmaker Pip Chodorov’s look at avant-garde cinema in Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film — ARR is 221 days.  

Mar. 12 also marks the DVD and Blu-ray arrival of writer/director Larry Wade Carrell’s Jacob, an indie horror flick about the Kell family, a dysfunctional small town clan with an oafish teen named Jacob (Dylan Horne) and his little sister Sissy (Grace Powell), whose soothing voice keeps him in check.

Now what good would a horror flick be with a Frankenstein-like creature waiting in the wings if little Sissy just says “no, Jacob … come, Jacob.”  You guessed it, some equally deviant inbred (filmmaker Larry Wade Carrell does double-duty in front of the camera as well) does away with the innocent young girl and the monster is loose.

On a side note, one would like to know the production backstory on this one as filmmaker Larry Wade Carrell was able to land sci-fi icon Michael Biehn for flashback sequences — excellently staged and photographed, belying the film’s micro budget — that give the audiences insights into the current state of affairs of the Kell family.        A nice touch.

Bonus features on Jacob include a Q&A session with Carrell, deleted scenes and a video interview with the aforementioned Michael Biehn.

Mar. 19 reveals an interesting mix from Kino Lorber.  There is the French-language import from writer/director Stéphane Robelin, featuring both Jane Fonda and Geraldine Chaplin.   Title for this bittersweet tale of old friends, a retirement home and a student’s project on the subject of aging is All Together

A minor arthouse showcase generated ticket sales of  $37,734 … the ARR is 151 days.   (ARR of 151 days; box office: $37,734).   Presented in French with English subtitles.

Also on the foreign-language front on Mar. 19 are DVD and Blu-ray editions of writer/director Luigi Batzella’s 1974 gothic horror tale, Nude for Satan: Remastered Edition.  Genre fans will have two viewing options — the original Italian (with English subtitles) or an English-dubbed version.

DVD & Blu-ray Release ReportAlso heading home on Mar. 19 is a Blu-ray presentation of director Michael Cort’s 1969 Brit “sci-fi” sexploitation film, Zeta One: Remastered Edition (aka: The Love Factor).  The plotline: Topless Amazonians from another planet and dimension (Angvia — try moving the letters around on that one) have arrived to kidnap strippers to repopulate their planet.  Un-huh, right … the film didn’t surface theatrically in the United States until 1975.  It worked in 1969.  It worked in 1975 … and it works today.  Some stories are just timeless!

And finally we come to the last street Tuesday of the month of March (Mar. 26) and find documentary filmmaker Scott Thurman’s The Revisionaries (the limited theatrical yielded ticket sales of $18,262 … the ARR is 172 days) and from the film vaults a Blu-ray edition of the 1953 cinéma vérité classic, Little Fugitives (Best Writing Oscar nominee … losing out to Dalton Trumbo’s Roman Holiday).

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

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Theatrical Announcements Heading To DVD and Blu-ray, Jan. 5 Update

E1 Entertainment
02/05/13 — Sets Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (ARR of 137 days; box office: $948,254) DVD only

Lionsgate Home Ent.
01/15/13 — Adds The Other Dream Team (ARR of 109 days; box office: $133,777) DVD only
01/29/13 — Sets Cold Light of Day (ARR of 144 days; box office: $3,749,061) DVD & Blu-ray

Lotus Five Star
12/25/12 — Released Thaandavam (Tamil) (ARR of 88 days; box office: $212,145) DVD only

MPI Home Video
02/05/12 — Sets Little White Lies (French) (ARR of 165 days; box office: $206,088) DVD only
03/19/13 — Sets Big Picture (French) (ARR of 158 days; box office: $158,411) DVD & Blu-ray

Music Box Pictures
03/19/13 — Sets Starlet (ARR of 130 days; box office: $78,816) DVD only

New Video Group
02/19/13 — Sets For Ellen (ARR of 165 days; box office: $12,396) DVD only
03/26/13 — Sets The Comedy (ARR of 137 days; box office: $41,113) DVD only

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
02/26/13 — Sets Chicken with Plums (French) (ARR of 193 days; box office: $253,705) DVD only
03/12/13 — Sets Smashed (ARR of 151 days; box office: $373,634) DVD & Blu-ray

UTV Motion Pictures
12/25/12 — Released Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (Hindi) (ARR of 53 days; box office: $140,056) DVD only

Universal Studios Home Ent.
02/12/13 — Sets Man with the Iron Fists (ARR of 102 days; box office: $15,634,090) DVD & Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
02/19/13 — Sets Anna Karenina (ARR of 95 days; box office: $11,173,609) DVD & Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack

Zeitgeist Films
02/19/13 — Sets Bestiaire (ARR of 102 days; box office: $1,428) DVD only

* ARR - Asset Rollover Rate: The number of days between a film's initial theatrical debut and its subsequent release on DVD and/or Blu-ray.

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

Strange Frame From Wolfe Video On Mar. 19

DVD & Blu-ray Release Report
Whoa!  Wow!  That’s what is in store for the home entertainment market place on Mar. 19 when Wolfe Video unleashes writer/director/producer GB Hajim’s Strange Frame on DVD.

Not since René Laloux’s 1973 film, Fantastic Planet, has there been anything as surreal in this genre neighborhood … and we use the word “neighborhood” is the loosest possible sense imaginable. Strange Frame goes beyond the futuristic animated sci-fi milieu as Hajim’s other worldly adventure (the Jupiter moon of Ganymede 500 years in the future) includes sex (lesbian relationship), drugs (beyond “mood altering”) and rock ‘n’ roll (with a jazz riff) as the complimentary ingredients.

Add in the power of love, exploitation (drug-induced slavery), poverty and violence, plus a totally unique approach to the animation and you indeed have a one-of-a-kind film experience waiting in the home entertainment pipeline.    

With the days of repertory cinema long past (sadly), that leaves the film festival circuit and arthouse venues — which are pretty much limited to major metro areas and university communities — as the only viewing options for a film of this nature.  Wolfe Video’s DVD release therefore becomes the only viable viewing opportunity for most … they’ve given themselves two full months to work retail and the allied media outlets who have an interest in such things to raise both buyer interest and consumer awareness.  

The backstory on the making of the film, which features the voice talents of Tara Strong (a voice-talent resume that is unmatched … when does this woman find time to sleep?) as Naia and sci-fi veteran Claudia Black (Pitch Black, plus Farscape as Aeryn Sun and Stargate SG-1 as Vala) as sax player Parker (an homage there), is as fascinating as the film itself.

DVD & Blur-ray Release Report
Claudia Black and Tara Strong as the voices of Parker and Naia
GB Hajim is an unlikely filmmaker.  His background is that of a volcanologist working for the U.S. Geological Survey on the Big Island in Hawaii.  With his writing partner, Shelley Doty, Hajim not only co-wrote, produced and directed the film, but recruited local high school and college art students to act as his animation department.   

Hajim trained his two-dozen “interns” in the various animation techniques he sought to employ in the film … the result is a stunning “studio-like” visual accomplishment.  This is a film where you come for the show, but can appreciate it all the more when you understand the creative process.

He also must have been quite persuasive in his pitch about the project since along the way he was able to recruit the likes of Tim Curry, the vampish Juliet Landau, Cree Summer and Star Trek veterans Michael Dorn and George Takei to lend their voices to various characters in this futuristic animated adventure.

Like we said at the top, “WOW” … this one is not to be missed when it arrives on DVD on Mar. 19.

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

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment's Wreck-It Ralph Arrives Mar. 5

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will bring the animated smash hit, Wreck-It Ralph, to the home entertainment market place on Mar. 5 as a three-SKU product offering.    

The ARR for the DVD, Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and the 3D/2D Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack (with Digital Copy) works out to 123 days … the box office haul is at $176.6 million (potential franchise candidate).

Bonus features include the animated short film Paperboy, alternate and deleted scenes, a collection of video game commercials featured in the film and the featurette titled “Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph.”   Exclusive to the Blu-ray editions is “Disney Intermission: The Gamer’s Guide to Wreck-It-Ralph.”

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